by Laura Courtney
Last week, one of our survivors made a simple picture of stick figures and doodles representing all of us who work here at ESTN. For a simple two minute drawing, however, she was able to capture three truths of who we are and what we do.
First, we here at End Slavery Tennessee are a family. We are led by a passionate mother (and that is both figuratively and literally in this case) who binds us all together with a heart full of love and compassion and a desire to empower again young girls who have been victimized. We may disagree and some days maybe even fight with one another, just as all siblings do, but we share a common thread that overcomes these obstacles and we are filled with a care for both the survivors we work with and each other.
Second, our family is large and diverse. ESTN is made up not only of our office staff, but also of our volunteer groups, all the donors who support this organization, and our survivors. So much of what we do is because of the volunteers who enable such things to happen. Generous individuals from all over, some even outside the Tennessee state, give of their time and resources to help support the victims of human trafficking and give love to all our survivors, just as all families are to do. Our donors support us as they give of their own wealth and earnings, and work to provide for our survivors and immediate needs without a regret in their hearts.
Most importantly, our survivors are who bring us together. All that we do is with the purpose and goal of restoring and raising up victims and survivors of human trafficking. We are bound by this single passion and strive towards this goal each and every day. They are our core. As a family tree, these survivors are the roots that join us together and give us our own courage and bravery. The office wall that reads “Welcome to the Family” is not simply for our staff and new volunteers, but for the survivors who meet with us and are looking for love, acceptance, and hope.