Getting the Word Out - March 2017

Getting the Word Out

The month of January began with an incredible flurry of activity at End Slavery and that flurry continues and is growing momentum each and every day.

What happens when you combine a group of highly energetic and committed women with a cause close to their hearts? You get members of the Junior League of Nashville, hosting an awareness event during the Vanderbilt SEHC playoffs at the Ford Ice Center, the weekend of February 11 – 12, 2017. Key JLN members Kate Meriwether, Lauren Davis, and Kathryn Warren oversaw the event, as volunteer members Rachael Holloway, Jazmen Howard, and Andrew Branch manned an exhibit table and answered questions for all of the attendees and guests.     

Presentations and trainings are at an all-time high, with over 3300 people attending trainings and volunteer-led educational events, in just February alone. Jamie Corwin led her congregation at Community of Christ Cedar Ridge in a program called “Engage”, which has heightened awareness not only of human trafficking, but also on the work of End Slavery Tennessee.  Alissa Shear was asked to return to Bellevue Middle School to present the highly successful ‘Be the Jam’ program. This time, the interactive program was presented to the 8th and 9th grade students of the school. Alissa also presented ‘Be the Jam’ to students in the English department at Lebanon High School. As wildly successful as ‘Be the Jam’ is, Alissa also spoke to students in the Women’s and Gender Studies course at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). New presenter Debbie Byrd, who has been an avid volunteer and supporter, spoke to the men’s club at Andrew Price UMC in Donelson on February 18th.

On February 25th, I (Jill Rutter) was honored to participate in a panel that included TBI, FBI, State Representative Sherry Jones, and Professor Cheryl Page from the Duncan School of Law at Lincoln Memorial University, as well as a survivor leader from Thistle Farms. This event, sponsored by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority is the beginning of what the sorority hopes will be a statewide initiative. That same night, Brentwood Group Leader and volunteer Stacy Elliott represented End Slavery Tennessee at ‘Rock the Chains’, a student-led Battle of the Bands concert that raises money and awareness in the fight against modern day slavery. This year, the concert raised over $10,000, benefitting End Slavery Tennessee and the International Justice Mission. Our annual ‘No Show Ball’ was a huge success again this year, under the guidance of Callen Martin and our Director of Development, Lorraine McGuire. Many wonderful volunteers braved the rainy weather, including former Board members Whitney Akin and Susie Higginbotham, as well as Jayme Hawthorne, Cara Deese, Dana Hardy, Don Adcox, Beth Adcox, Amanda Newell, Trish Gomez,  Wendi Zebell, Christine Deekens, Pam Schmidt, Merrisa Petersen, Ashley Oros, and Sandra Mohr, along with over 40 other wonderful participants.  

Our volunteer groups continue to grow and new members are already doing amazing work. The new Franklin Volunteer Group, with close to 165 members, has met twice and is already lining up group events. We can’t wait to see what leaders Cara Deese and Dana Hardy will be doing in the coming months. New volunteer groups in Hermitage/Donelson, as well as Hendersonville, will be starting up within the next few months.   

End Slavery has been truly blessed to have wonderful volunteers that have stepped up to help with any need we may have in our office during this period of tremendous growth. Special thanks go out to Sarah Cho, Lena Postanowicz, Kathy Matson, Amanda Newell, Jennifer Lucas, Katelin Earhardt, and intern Jessica Grandas for all of their hard work. They enable us to do all we do with a small staff.

We are currently having a moratorium on volunteer submissions, as we work on our infrastructure during this period of growth. However, we also want to spend this time thanking our tremendous current volunteers for all of their hard work and devotion with a Volunteer Appreciation Family Picnic! This event will be held on Saturday, April 29th, from 10a-1p, at Centennial Park. More details to follow.

Again, this is truly the most amazing organization I have ever been a part of and I cannot thank each and every one of you enough.  You are truly a blessing and we could not have come this far without you. God bless all of you and….. Stay tuned !