As we enter the joys of the holiday season we also enter the busiest time of year and that is certainly apparent at End Slavery TN. Our growing reputation as a leader in the fight against human trafficking in the state of Tennessee has led to many individuals and organizations requesting to learn more through trainings, presentations, and events.
The busy month started with volunteers Jenna Watson and Jacie Doerschuk representing End Slavery at the AIG Awareness Fair, held in Brentwood on November 1st. That same evening, I was happy to have the opportunity to co-present with new Junior League volunteer, Melanie Davenport, for the Scholarship Committee for the Beta Psi Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi at Middle Tennessee State University. MTSU has become a staunch partner and we are honored to fill the numerous requests for trainings and presentations we receive from both staff and students. On November 8th, volunteer Amie Hassler returned to MTSU to present to the Women’s Gender Studies Course. This is the second time End Slavery has presented to this class and MTSU Professor Lisa Williams has been so pleased by the response from her students, that she said that she would like to have this presentation for this class every semester.
New presenter, Lisa Forte, was on hand for the Women’s Health Studies class for third year pharmacy students at Belmont University on November 13th. The following morning, Lisa followed that presentation with a training at the Mental Health Cooperative. As a nurse practitioner, Lisa’s knowledge was key in educating the key staff members and case managers of this important partner organization.
End Slavery was honored to have former Director of Education, Karen Karpinski, representing us on November 14th with the Nashville Chapter of the AAUW at West End Methodist Church. Karen was one of the original staff members of End Slavery and is still a key volunteer through her work with the Soroptomist Club. The Soroptomists provide homemade birthday cakes for our survivors and since many of our survivors have never had a true birthday party, this has become an important part of their restoration and healing. They also donate to provide substantive dental care for the survivors.
I was on a panel with FBI agent Cameron Beall and U.S. Attorney Lynne Ingram at the Lawyer’s Association for Women, held at B.B. King’s on November 14th. We were able to share how our three agencies collectively address human trafficking in Tennessee. It was wonderful to see the support of our agencies for one another.
We look at any opportunity to educate youth as vitally important, so we were on hand to speak with youth at Community Bible Church on November 28th. The students had been studying human trafficking and requested additional materials to familiarize themselves more with the topic prior to the presentation.
I am now one month shy of my two year anniversary as Director of Community Outreach at End Slavery. As I started in my new role, I was eager to start this new journey in my life. Never did I realize that it would change me so profoundly, in so many ways. The survivors we care for are our inspiration to do what we do. But the wonderful volunteers and their leaders, who have shared their passion with me, are MY inspiration to continue to strive to do my very best, as an educator, an advocate, an abolitionist, and as a leader. The wisdom of leaders Dana Montgomery (Murfreesboro), Stacy Elliott (Brentwood), Cara Deese and Dana Hardy (Franklin), Scott Hardesty and Rusty Shipp (Nashville), Shelby Dykes (Hendersonville), Johannah and Robyn O’Connell (Hermitage/Donelson), Ashley Oros (Clarksville), and Tina McLane (Springhill) is invaluable. Your faithful support is a gift that I can never thank all of you enough for.
May each of you be truly blessed during this holiday season.