Getting the Word Out
Fall is here and with the change of seasons has come a flurry of activity at End Slavery Tennessee. Volunteer submissions are at a record-breaking high, and vetted volunteers have stepped forward to offer their passion and service to numerous causes throughout the month. And, as usual, they have been stellar representatives of our growing organization.
On October 13th, volunteers Stacy Elliott and Jackie Leach represented End Slavery Tennessee at the Night of Hope, an event that attempts to mobilize Tennessee congregations and churches to join in fighting human trafficking and protecting vulnerable populations. Stacy also participated with Songs Against Slavery, an organization that aims at raising awareness and funds for nonprofits by providing musical venues that feature the amazing talents of area musicians. Stacy is one of our most passionate advocates and we were so blessed to have her represent us at this event, which was held at 3rd and Lindsley on October 18th.
Alissa Shear participated in a panel discussion on human trafficking to undergraduate students at the Ingram Commons at Vanderbilt University. End Slavery has trained many healthcare professionals at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as well as Monroe Carrell Children’s Hospital, so we were pleased to have this opportunity to reach the student body at Vanderbilt University. Alissa has tirelessly worked on updating ‘Be the Jam’, our educational program that is geared towards low-risk, school-aged children. Her love of youth and her passion for educating students is reflected in this wonderful, interactive program that engages students in an age-appropriate manner, while addressing the current trends in human trafficking. I will have the honor of accompanying Alissa to Bellevue Middle School to present the program to the fifth-grade class and their parents. We are very excited about this opportunity and will upload the program onto our website within the next few weeks.
Not only are the number of volunteer submissions increasing, but so are our groups! Four eager and earnest volunteers have stepped forward to take on the task of creating and heading volunteer groups in their area. Lisa Forte, Cara Deese, Johanna Carroll, and Board member Beth Wright have requested to start groups in Hendersonville, Franklin, Donelson/Hermitage, and Madison, respectfully. After a brief training and orientation, these amazing volunteers will be reaching out to prospective members, giving more volunteers a chance to join like-minded individuals in their area to interact and invigorate.
On Saturday, October 15th, End Slavery Tennessee rolled out ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S.”, our first-ever, in-depth training for potential survivor mentors. The first class consisted of volunteers who had been waiting patiently for this opportunity. The attendees included volunteers Jenifer King, Becky McElrath, Christine Deekens, Dacia Harvey, Kelly Dean Birge, Lauren LaCava, Debbie Byrd, Katie Atkins, and Beth Mason. The training was very successful and the next one will most likely be held in January.
The day has finally come! On October 21st, our survivors were finally able to move out of the safe houses that they have called “home” and into a brand new facility that will be able to house 60 survivors. Adequate housing is imperative for our growing population of survivors and so this is a long-awaited blessing. Again, amazing volunteers Don Adcox, Sarah Cho, Sherry Gatewood, and Connor Shephard stepped forward and assisted the care coordinators in this vital move.
As End Slavery Tennessee continues to grow, so do my responsibilities as Director of Community Outreach. I could not possibly do this job successfully without the wonderful assistance of volunteers Jessica Marchand, Lena Postanowicz, Lensie Freeman, and Clarice Grooms. I cannot tell you how appreciative and thankful I am for each and every one of you. And for all of the rest of the volunteers that are always ready, willing, and able to step in and do whatever you can in all of our efforts, all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.