The Nashville group had a great meeting this month with volunteers brainstorming enthusiastically and throwing out some great ideas. Best of all, projects and project leaders were selected and locked down for upcoming events like a door hanger event in May led by group member, Lindsey. One volunteer also made a thermometer chart for the group to track their progress towards their $20,000 fundraising goal for the year. And the whole team produced all of this creativity and planning while still having fun…and rumors of an interesting baby kangaroo story have leaked as well.
The Franklin volunteer group met shortly after the raids on two massage parlors in Franklin resulting in the rescue of 5 trafficked victims.) This prompted a discussion on how volunteers in the community can serve as eyes and ears to aid local law enforcement in their work of rescuing victims of human trafficking.
Our Brentwood group had its first official meeting last month with 13 attendees. After a brief overview of ESTN mission, role of volunteers, vision for Brentwood group and announcements of events, the group heard from current volunteer Trish Gomez about her experience as a youth presenter and showed the Be the Jam video...
Our volunteers have taken the start of a new year to heart with lots of fresh ideas, hopes, plans, and energy leading the way. Here's what some of our volunteer groups have been up to this past month...
The Brentwood group's inaugural meeting was a film screening of the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. Group leader Stacy Elliott had great success with 47 attendees - both active ESTN volunteers and people interested in learning more about the issue. After the screening, the floor was opened for individuals to speak about how they are involved in ending slavery. Engagement included writing books, talking to legislators, finding local resources, and unique ways for men to be involved. The Brentwood Volunteer group meets the second Monday of every month at 7pm at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood.
With 2015 underway, the Franklin group spent the first meeting of the new year both looking back and looking ahead. In considering 2014, volunteers focused on two questions: “What did we do?” and “What could we have done better?” In looking ahead, they focused on the question: “What do we do?” A volunteer asked that last question after watching the film, Nefarious, Merchant of Souls, in November, and that became the foundation for discussion around the table this month. It’s a good question for all of us who are engaged in this battle, and it sparked some productive discussion. Listening to the possible ways volunteers suggested to serve the vulnerable and exploited was both encouraging and motivating. Further engaging our community through education, being more proactive in the legislative arena as it relates to human trafficking, and building additional relationships with community leaders were three points of the discussion. The Franklin volunteers also brought gift cards to the meeting in support and honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month!
The Spring Hill group had a small, but productive meeting. They came up with plans to reach 3 big goals this year to BE PRESENT in their community through "getting on the calendar", "engaging teams" (folks in personal circles of influence), and "exploring training opportunities".
Susan, Tina, and Bucky committed to book dates for quarterly film screening events with a short presentation and Q&A session following the movie. Taryn aimed to get the group's display/booth booked at as many city festival events as possible. Together the group promised to work to find times to speak to churches' youth groups and small groups, invite more people to events, and challenge them to participate in projects like collecting gift cards and emergency kits. In addition, the Spring Hill volunteers vowed to look for opportunities to book trainings for co-workers and throughout our city to help educate more people about the issue here in our own backyards. Group leader Bucky stated, "We're doing our best to start out with momentum and make sure Spring Hill knows we're here to engage and serve them."
At the Murfreesboro volunteer group meeting this month members planned how they could raise gift cards for the 20/15 initiative and scheduled a time for finishing up their special art project. The team also discussed plans for the year and were excited to hear that ESTN's very own Shelia will be coming to their meeting in February to update the group on survivors and office news. Murfreesboro has members working on several projects including door hangers, presentations, setting up educational booth at community events, and connecting with spheres of influence to educate and empower.
The Nashville group had several new people at their latest meeting and there was a lot of energy in the group. Together the team wanted to set some goals for the year so they focused on a few different categories: $20,000 in financial goals including gift cards, personal donations,etc.; 5,000 new people made aware of the issue (door hangers, events, etc.); 50,000 new people made aware via social media (there was a social media guru at the meeting who is ready to take this challenge on!); and 100 new volunteers. These volunteers have their work cut out for the year, but they are hopeful that these goals will help focus efforts. We're rooting for them!
Spring Hill had a pretty fantastic meeting this month with nine volunteers attending to help brainstorm opportunities and identify team goals for the next year. The group was challenged to sponsor survivors for Christmas and invite folks from work, clubs, Sunday school classes and elsewhere to participate as well. They've planned their next meeting to be a Christmas party and gift collection where afterwards they will make a big trip to the ESTN offices to deliver presents!
Murfreesboro group was active at their last meeting as well with ten volunteers present and ready with ideas! The group discussed ways to pull in faith communities on projects and prayer lists, planned fundraising for the New Year, and started creating a yearly calendar of events and ideas. They planned a Christmas pizza party for their last meeting of the year where they will also make some crafts and work on a special project for the survivors.
The Nashville group had its final meeting of the 2014 year this past month. The group hosted a holiday party to celebrate a year of great volunteers, awareness, and organization as well as state-wide successes. Volunteers also brought Christmas gifts for survivors and had them delivered to the office the next day.
About 30 folks showed up for the November meeting of the Franklin group! Some regulars invited friends, so several new folks joined in for the evening. After spending a few minutes talking about what the remainder of the year and their first meeting of 2015 would look like, the group watched the film, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. The movie generated an array of emotions and lively discussion among some who stayed afterwards, and also seemed to increase the passion of many of the volunteers for the work of End Slavery Tennessee.
by Karen Karpinski, Director of Education
End Slavery Tennessee has been blessed with some of the most dedicated, engaged and passionate volunteers that I have encountered. I recently met two of the three-generation family who are involved with End Slavery Tennessee in Dickson, Franklin and Springhill. As a family they have committed themselves to work with group leaders, and to provide for both survivor and organizational needs. While it is unique to find three-generations involved with a particular cause, I began thinking what a great example this could be for other families. Volunteering does not and should not be a one generational phenomena. There are ways to use your time, skills and talents at any age, at any stage in one’s life. Whitney Smith,the youngest of our three-generation volunteers, stated, "It's fun to do something all together. My sister is doing her part with inner city teens in NY and my brothers girlfriend in LA."
We often talk about using your sphere of influence to educate about human trafficking. Do you share your passion with your family? Could that passion motivation other family member into action? If this serves as an inspiration to you, talk to your family about how they too can work to support ESTN and our survivors.
The Spring Hill group had a good meeting this month and enjoyed having Karen Karpinski visit and share some updates and future plans. She also helped the group vision-cast a bit about more opportunities for events and trainings in the Spring Hill area. The group decided to have a volunteer challenge for this next month to think about relationships available to them and explore ways to serve or raise funds and awareness in their community.
Taryn, Whitney, and Bucky also brought their families to the Spring Hill Night Against Crime where ESTN had a display. The team was happy to represent ESTN there again in order to help foster our relationship with the city, speak with parents about keeping their kids safe, and to make connections with all sorts of other organizations.
The Murfreesboro group was full of activity this month. The volunteers packed some toiletries bags and completed eight rescue packs for survivors. One of the group’s teen volunteers lead two door hanger event and a gift card collection this past month and another volunteer brought $100.00 in gift cards she collected in replacement of her birthday gifts. The group also collected feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and paper towels. Group leader Dana has her car packed to the top with gifts for ESTN. So heartwarming to see the generosity!
The Franklin group welcomed three new volunteers to the group this month and spent a few minutes getting to know them. Afterwards, they participated in a short test to see how well each could field questions about the work and mission of End Slavery when asked. The remainder of the group’s time was spent viewing the “Traps” video presenters use when speaking to teens. Volunteer Stacy has spent some time studying the possibility of updating the “Traps” video and getting other volunteers involved in this project as well. Afterwards, Lizedny gave survivor updates and the team heard a short report about a legislative initiative that Senator Corker is involved with and are all look forward to hearing details about in early 2015.
The Nashville group ended the month with a good meeting. Five new volunteers joined the group this month so after getting to know each of them a little more, Scott gave the group a short quiz about human trafficking and ESTN's work. Together they also discussed a new project to have a video hosting of the movie Nefarious: Merchant of Souls open to the Trevecca campus and other interested individuals. Finally, the group received survivor updates and discussed sponsoring a survivor for Christmas this year as another group project.
The Hendersonville group is back and had their first meeting this month. Main discussion topics surrounded driving volunteer recruiting with two primary methods agreed upon: group activity and social visibility. Group activity will have the primary focus on providing items for survivors through the solicitation of local businesses and drives during special events, specifically local festivals and possibly Black Friday at local retail stores. Social visibility will be initiated by planning an “official Sumner County launch/re-launch” for the Hendersonville Group at a local restaurant/establishment with possible dates around New Years and the Super Bowl. The group also discussed creating a local Facebook page to help continue promoting ESTN events and support and to help create connections in the area.
Spring Hill group went over the new mission statement, talked about using accurate and distinctive language (i.e. "Training", "Long-term therapeutic aftercare", etc.), discussed organizational updates like the developing resource center and on-line training courses, shared survivor updates, took a look at Volgistics, got volunteer documents in order, discussed new ideas for auction items, signed up volunteers for a table at an upcoming community event, Spring Hill Night Out Against Crime, and talked about the 8 Days and Ride events.
The Murfreesboro group reviewed the ESTN mission, vision and group leader mission statements, and reviewed projects completed this month. The group had a great influence at events like Meet Murfreesboro and Murfreesboro RISE reaching over 1,000 students and community members. The group also partnered with a local Presbyterian Church that decided to adopt the ESTN current needs list monthly. And to top it all off, teen key club members hosted a door hanger event and a gift card drive. Other volunteers also began tapping into their local resources to find new and creative ways to help raise money for ESTN and get reliable, tangible donations. And finally, student volunteer Justin opened the door for an official class on human trafficking at MTSU that Dana and the group hope to begin working with soon.
The Franklin volunteer group meeting was off to a great start with Steve Green leading the devotional. The members then discussed using a Facebook page for additional communication within the group and talked about the logistics for Ride for Refuge. They furthered their education with a fun quiz and viewing helpful websites on human trafficking. Finally, Lizedny gave in-depth updates on the survivors and their needs. The group ended the meeting by assembling their baskets for the auction.
Nashville had several new members at their meeting this month with lots of interest in learning more and getting involved! The group started collectively reading the book Girls Like Us and discussed the first few chapters at the meeting. ESTN staff members and VIP guests Lizedny De la Rosa and Christine Croom gave the group survivor updates. Finally, the group discussed the up and coming event Ride for Refuge and assigned volunteers to help put together their three silent auction baskets.
The West Central group had a good second meeting this month with the group's new leader, Katie Camper. Katie went over the new mission and vision statements and the group worked together to assemble some survivor rescue kits. They also discussed the date for their Human Chess fundraising game to take place sometime in late October.
The Murfreesboro group has been working very hard preparing for the Ride for Refuge fundraiser on October 4th. They spent most of the month collecting items for their silent auction basket that will be auctioned off at the Ride, and also have started fundraising for their team – the Murfreesboro Freedom Riders! They are excited to see if they can each raise their individual goal of $150. The group is working with the local store, Talbots, to host a special End Slavery night where all proceeds from clothing items purchased will go to ESTN. Date and time TBA!
Group member Alissa Shear did some more prevention presentations, including a presentation at the ESTN office to a group of Lipscomb freshmen. Group leader Dana Garett Montgomery has been asked to speak at the Rise Up and Change Your Community conference held on September 4th in Murfreesboro. Connor donated a smart phone for a survivor to have better communication with services, family, and ESTN. We also had a new person join us – Joy. She is excited to get involved and help end slavery right here in Tennessee!
The Franklin volunteer group enjoyed getting to know one another better with a fun team-building exercise this past month. Group leader Gwen Smith inspired the group with a selection from the book, In Our Own Backyard, encouraging volunteers with the message that everyone has different gifts and talents that can bring strength in the fight against slavery. Marge Middleton gave the group an update on legislation that was passed during the most recent Tennessee General Assembly, highlighting the increase in penalties for patronizing trafficked minors! She encouraged the group to write to Tennessee representatives and let them know they are appreciated for standing up to injustice and passing these important bills. Gwen also highlighted two important upcoming events: the Nashville premiere of the 8 Days Film on September 25th and the Ride for Refuge fundraiser on October 3rd.
Nashville had a large meeting last night with eight new people attending to learn more about End Slavery Tennessee and how they can get involved! After introductions, Scott Hardesty had the group watch the short video In Your Backyard to help illustrate our work and the reality of human trafficking right here in Tennessee. The group also discussed the new mission statement, received survivor updates, and talked about upcoming events including the Benefit Breakfast & Luncheon, 8 Days premiere, and Ride for Refuge. The group was very conversational and asked a lot of questions in order to better understand the issue and educate themselves to help bring awareness to others. Next meeting the group plans to assemble their silent auction basket for the Ride!
Spring Hill group had a great car wash event this month raising around $160 and is currently working on assembling their educational display board and Ride for Refuge auction baskets for the volunteer event in October.
The Franklin group had a special meeting this month - they acknowledged specific progress the group members had made and finalized their basket for the silent auction for the Ride for Refuge event this fall. Survivor Services Coordinator Lizedny attended and gave updates on all the survivors. Afterwards, each person in the Franklin group left the meeting with a specific survivor to pray for throughout the month.
The Murfreesboro volunteer group has been working hard toward End Slavery Tennessee's mission to create a slave-free Tennessee and holistically restore survivors of human trafficking. The group is doing their part to turn off the T.A.P. of human trafficking in TN:
“T” for Training - Volunteer Kadi is working with Karen Karpinski to connect with some other volunteers to help in the needed steps to have on-line training available for professionals. This will help us increase our outreach and is a project that has been desired for a while. Kadi also wants to get trained to be a tutor/mentor as needed for our survivors and their families.
"A" for Aftercare - The Murfreesbor group has been working hard on different fundraising events like the Ride for Refuge silent auction basket and their volunteer Linda is collecting items for rescue kits for new survivors. The group turned in over $300.00 in gift cards that volunteer Connor collected at his college church group at New Vision Church. These will be used to help survivors with their immediate needs.
"P" for Prevention - Volunteer Alissa is doing tons of youth presentations to help share preventative knowledge to those most vulnerable to human trafficking. The group also printed their educational board graphics to help educate the public at community events.
The Nashville group met at the end of the month and discussed several topics. Volunteers were reminded and encouraged to use the new Volgistics system to track their volunteering hours. The group discussed Ride for Refuge coming up in October and decided upon their silent auction basket theme as outdoors/nature. The group also decided to start reading together the book Girls Like Us and will begin discussing their thoughts and reactions at the next meeting. The volunteers also decided to help ESTN by gathering items for a survivor rescue kit to put together and deliver to the office for new referrals and rescues.