by Jill Rutter, Director of Community Outreach
"....and the volunteers keep coming!" National Volunteer appreciation week was in April, so it seems a good time to focus on the remarkable men and women who devote their time and energy as volunteers with ESTN. Lena Postanowicz, Mickey Taylor, Jennifer Lucas, Kathy Matson, Jayme Hawthorne, Audrey Ragan and Clarice Grooms handle research, behind the scenes help and office work; Valerie Duvall leads a prayer team; Stacy Elliott provides a support group for survivors; Alissa Shear, Gwen Smith, Jamie Corwin, Monica Neubauer, and our intern Blythe Todd are just a few of the many volunteers who make presentations and man booths at events on a regular basis; Kenny Baker, Andrew Yontz, Bob Bolen and Kevin Banks speak at the John School attempting to reduce demand; Don Adcox regularly does lawn care and anything else we ask of him- we have over 600 volunteers so the list of names of those fueled by heartfelt passion and commitment goes on and on.
On April 9th, Jamie Corwin and I led a training of 16 volunteers, many of whom have already signed up for presentation training, mentoring, office work, and individual participation in The Big Payback, being held on May 3rd. One volunteer even stepped forward and sponsored a survivor. Volunteer applications are at an all time high, and there will be another volunteer training session on April 28th, others at the end of May and sometime in June, dates to be determined.
Music events continue to be a theme with End Slavery. On April 19th, Brenna McKamey, a music business major from Belmont University, hosted a fund raiser for End Slavery Tennessee at the Mercy Lounge. Students from Students Against Modern Slavery, a volunteer group from Vanderbilt, represented ESTN at the event. On the 21st, another student from Belmont met with me to discuss orchestrating collaborative fundraisers at various music venues throughout the Nashville Community. These events illustrate the continued passion of youth for the victims of human trafficking and their commitment to Do Something.
As I reflect on Volunteer Appreciation week, I cannot help but think that there is no other organization with the same caliber of men and women who tirelessly serve every day. And to these men and women, I say: "thank you", "thank you", and “thank you!"