July has been a particularly busy month. Not only did we move into our new Care Center, but we continue to receive a record number of volunteer submissions – over 5 per day! We feel that this surge in volunteerism is a reflection of our growing reputation, not only in the community, but in the entire state of Tennessee, as well. These volunteers come from a diverse background and have a broad range of talents that will continue to enhance our organization and be of benefit to the survivors we serve.
Speaking of new volunteers, we are excited to announce that our first volunteer training session of the year is going to be held on the 22nd of July and is filled to capacity. Sherry Gatewood, the wonderful leader of the Clarksville Volunteer Group, will be the lead trainer for this session.
Volunteer submissions aren’t the only aspect that has increased at End Slavery Tennessee. Our expertise in human trafficking and restorative survivor care has also led to an increase of requests for trainings and presentations. I did a training on “Domestic Trafficking of Minors and Complex Trauma” at the Vanderbilt Center of Excellence on July 13th. The audience consisted of child serving systems- DCS, community therapists, education professionals, who come together once a month to be educated on topics that are relevant to all of those that serve children in state custody.
I was also asked to return to Pigeon Forge for another training of members of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TNHTA), as well as other area hotels. This time the training will be held at the Courtyard Marriott in Pigeon Forge on July 25th. After the completion of this second training, it is hoped that key industry professionals will adopt this “train-the-trainer” model and that it will become a statewide initiative for the hotel and tourism industry.
Our CEO, Derri Smith, spoke on the topic of justice at her home church, The Village Chapel, on July 11th. Volunteer Lisa Forte spoke at Volunteer State Community College to the enthusiastic students of instructor and fellow volunteer, Ben Jobe. Sherry Gatewood was very busy in the month of July. Not only did she lead the volunteer training on July 22nd, but she was also a presenter at Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in Clarksville.
Awareness and advocacy events have also come to the forefront. On July 28th, volunteers from the Hermitage/Donelson Volunteer Group, including co-leaders Johannah O’Connell and Robyn O’Connell, represented End Slavery Tennessee at the Hip Donelson Farmers Market.
Volunteer and Junior League member, Melissa Hempel, headed the second annual “Mom Prom” on Saturday, July 29th. This year, the 1000+ compassionate members of the Bellevue Moms Group chose End Slavery TN as their beneficiary.
Ever wonder what you can do to help end human trafficking in Tennessee? Two of our veteran volunteers know! Sandra Mohr and Trish Gomez are captains of Team Freedom, our race and fun-d raising event in August. Trish, a volunteer and personal trainer, is heading the “Tough Mudder”, to be held at Nissan Stadium on August 12th. Sandra, a Brentwood Volunteer group member, is the leader of the heading the “It’s Just Another Nashville 10K, August 19th, at Shelby Bottom Park. Not only will these two events help to raise awareness, they will be FUN.
End Slavery TN cherishes our partnerships and we have been blessed with the commitment of the Brentwood Rotary Club. Led by President Steve Grissim, the Brentwood Rotarians are dedicated to help in the fight against human trafficking. On July 14th, Rotarian presidents, community leaders, and legislators, were invited to an informational meeting to decide next steps in planning an approach for action. CEO Derri Smith, Director of Development, Lorraine McGuire, and volunteer and Franklin Group leader, Stacy Elliott, educated the audience about the problem of human trafficking in Tennessee, the work of law enforcement, important legislature and advocacy work, new challenges, and ways to move forward. We are excited about the future and this important partnership.
With these advancements comes the need for more administrative help. We cannot continue to move forward and grow without the help of wonderful and willing office volunteers such as Amie Hassler, Cara Allison, Lola McGuire, Maggie McGuire, and Jessica Marchand.
Truly, we cannot do any of this without each and our volunteers. Through your dedication and devotion, we can continue to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.