by Karen Karpinski, Education Consultant
What an incredible month we have experienced in the Education Department for the month of July. As you know from our last newsletter, Ondrea Johnson is the new Director of Education. I have had the pleasure of working with her for almost two months and while it is always difficult to hand over the reins of a department you have loved, I can say without reservation that I know she will be a great director. We’ve had great fun wading through physical and digital files, revamping presentations together and reviewing “all that I know” about human trafficking. In August I retreat to one day a week as a “consultant” so that this very important piece of my life stays intact.
Ondrea and I have observed some amazing presentations to organizations we feel will be terrific connections for End Slavery Tennessee, as well as for the people involved in these groups. We observed Stephanie Rainey deliver just the perfect information to individuals with Davidson County Drug Court, people who have an opportunity to recognize victims, but could also be victimized. Cheryl Brehm, Mrs. Tennessee, did a marvelous job of educating Nashville Cares staff and did so without notes. Amazing! Gwen Smith and Jill Rutter cemented our relationship with Camelot, a private company that trains foster parents for the Department of Children’s Services, by providing two great presentation in Murfreesboro and Columbia. Jayme Hawthorne continued the education to women in faith communities at the Bellevue United Methodist Church, answering some astute questions. In addition to observing presenters, Ondrea attended “No Girl’s Dream” film screening for Brentwood Kiwanis and participated in questions and answers. Our Interns, Emma Denley and Joelle Armstrong provided the “Be the Jam” training for ten groups of youth from all over the US and Ondrea sat in on several to learn about this aspect of our prevention training.
I am so proud of the education our staff and volunteers continue to provide for such a wide variety of audiences. Educating the community and professionals has been my passion for the past six years and I leave this role knowing that you, our volunteers, and I have made a huge impact in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. I remember when we had one volunteer group and a small group of dedicated volunteers. I have watched us grow to over 400 of you in almost every part of Middle TN, and I can say without hesitation that you have blessed my life beyond imagining.