by Ondrea Johnson, Director of Community Relations
December was a busy month for everyone here at End Slavery Tennessee. Our survivors were right where they should have been, in the middle of the action. The flurry of activity centered on making the holidays memorable and fun for the women and girls we walk alongside, as the year draws to a close. From the parties hosted in honor of survivors at the beginning of the month, thanks to generous donors and volunteers, to the special, personal activities and trips planned for each individual, we hope you will celebrate the month’s activities with us. Here is a small sampling:
Abby – Abby spent the month of December counting the days until she got to visit her family out of state. She told me at one point, with a special sparkle in her eye, that her son had asked her not to leave his side the entire time she was visiting. This was a Christmas wish she was more than happy to grant. Based on the photos she posted on social media this week, this was a special Christmas for everyone in Abby’s family, including Abby herself. She has a new job awaiting her return to Tennessee.
Lexi – Lexi is one of the survivors who moved into the newly opened second safe house. She settled in and entertained us every day with stories of moving adventures, wobbly beds, and getting adjusted to new roommates and life without kitchen utensils. Lexi made the most of the transition and seems settled and happy in her new home. She stayed in town for the holidays and enjoyed some specially planned outings during Christmas week which included a pajama party, shopping and going to the movies.
Becky – Becky was able to go home for several days to spend time with her family. She saved for months to bring special gifts to them. She shared photos of her time with us and the smiles on everyone’s faces are heartwarming. Becky accomplished some major goals this year and is starting 2016 with monumental hurdles behind her.
Miranda – Miranda came to Nashville for part of the holidays and is looking forward to moving into one of the safe houses at the beginning of the year. She will enroll in college courses here and continues to make healing choices for her life. Like Becky, she is facing 2016 with accumulated successes under her belt.
Kristi – Kristi was able to spend the holiday season with her children. She took several gifts to them, made them art projects and wrote words of encouragement for them as well. Kristi enjoys sharing videos and photos of her children with everyone here at End Slavery Tennessee and we love the way her whole face lights up when she talks about them.
Sadie – Sadie was able to visit us this month and attend the survivor’s Christmas party. Everyone present enjoyed seeing her, catching up on the fun stories she always shares and meeting her extended family who came to town for some holiday shopping. Since we consider survivors part of our family, it’s always an honor to meet part of their “actual family.”
Courtney – Fifteen year old Courtney was granted full custody of her child this month, the best Christmas gift she could have asked for. In addition, she attended the Survivor Christmas party along with her baby boy. He seemed to enjoy the extra attention from everyone, but he also reached for his mama every time she passed by. Courtney attends school and lives in a stable environment with her mother. Things are going well for her and she is looking forward to 2016 with her son by her side.