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!