Greetings! I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is holding hope and promise for each of you.
Before the year ended, End Slavery held its annual ESTN Volunteer Christmas Party. Many of the volunteer group leaders, as well as ESTN staff, enjoyed food, games, and mingling with like-hearted people. It was a lovely way to celebrate not only the upcoming holiday, but our wonderful volunteers.
On December 15th, Alicia Ludwig, an ESTN volunteer as well as a Rodan and Fields consultant, held an event at the Governor’s Club in Brentwood benefiting End Slavery Tennessee. This event was part of the Prescription for Change program, the philanthropic arm of Rodan and Fields. The attendees gave generously from their hearts, and promised to have an ongoing presence with End Slavery. Alicia went a step further and donated beautiful, individually-wrapped Christmas ornaments for the survivors.
Presentations and trainings continue through the early weeks of 2017. Jamie Corwin gave a presentation for the parishioners of St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Smyrna. New presenter, Mesha Ingram from the Clarksville Volunteer Group, trained the staff at the Hope Pregnancy Center in Clarksville. A training at Metro Nashville Hospital, arranged by volunteer Tracy McCarthy, was held for key medical staff in both the hospital and outpatient clinics. This is the beginning of future training for other healthcare professionals and medical residents at this facility. Alissa Shear, the stellar long-time volunteer who created the new, updated Be the Jam program, gave a presentation to higher-risk youth at Hermitage Hall. The presentation was well received by both the students and staff. We continue to get requests for this highly successful program by schools, churches, and other youth-oriented facilities. In fact, Alissa will soon be returning to the site of her original presentation, Bellevue Middle School, to present to the 8th grade students. Volunteer Molly Brislin has been accompanying Alissa at these presentations so that she, too, can teach the program.
As our requests for trainings and presentations increase, the need for volunteers to fill these needs increases as well. Volunteers Cheryl Brehm, Lisa Forte, Amie Hassler, and new volunteer Lyndsay Stafford are stepping up to the plate and are observing a variety of offerings. Many of them will be training on their own soon.
The schedule for the Magdalene John School has been filled by volunteers Andrew Yontz, Kevin Banks, and Bob Bolen. This important program, sponsored by Nashville Cares, is offered nine times a year for first time offenders of solicitation of prostitution. This program is an important step toward demand abatement in human trafficking. The first offering is January 28th.
Don Adcox and Andrew Branch offered their services to deliver a sofa to the Safe House, which was generously donated by Bob and Carol Van Kirk. No matter how busy they are, Don and Andrew are always willing to give their time to whatever is needed. They are greatly appreciated.
The first volunteer training was held on Saturday, January 14thand subsequent dates through May are being scheduled now. Alissa Shear, Sherry Gatewood, and Stacy Elliott will be our new volunteer trainers.
Our volunteer groups are growing! The first meeting of the new Franklin Volunteer Group was held on February 15th at the Townsend Hall in the Westhaven Community of Franklin. Over 30 enthusiastic volunteers attended. Group leaders Cara Deese and Dana Hardy hit the ground running, enlisting group members for preparing meals, collecting gift cards, and putting together Valentine gift bags for survivors. They are also hosting their own neighborhood “No Show Ball’ in order to continue to raise more funds for End Slavery TN. They are truly off to a great start!
Our incredible growth means an incredible increase in workload in the ESTN offices. Volunteers Lena Postanowicz, Jennifer Lucas, Kathy Matson, new volunteer Tatiana Cameron, and intern Jessica Grandas have done an outstanding job keeping up with our growing needs.
We still need more help in order to keep up with the breakneck speed of our growth. A link to sign up for immediate and continuing needs is now posted on our End Slavery Tennessee website. This includes volunteers needed for our upcoming No Show Ball, which will be held on Saturday, February 18th. There will also be a posting for openings for much needed drivers for the survivors.
If the first weeks of 2017 are any indication, it is going to be an incredible year.