Volunteer Voices September 2015

Brentwood – The Brentwood Group lead a strategic discussion at their last meeting (with 18 attendees – Woohoo!) of ways to actively support the ESTN mission.

To promote the healing of human trafficking survivors:

  • Group leader, Stacy Elliott, discussed current survivor needs and the work of volunteer Jamie Corwin’s church. Lindsay Henderson also graciously volunteered to donate a keyboard to one of the survivors with an amazing talent and passion for music.
  • Liz Burton discussed the new prevention groups being facilitated for safe house residents such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Love Addition groups.
  • Mickey Taylor provided survivor updates and afterwards the group discussed reaction to updates and general issues of human trafficking in our state.

To strategically confront slavery in our state:

  • Upcoming events were announced including volunteer Sandra Mohr’s Premiere Jewelry Party Fundraiser and the upcoming annual Ride for Refuge.
  • The group is also working on a silent auction basket for the R4R of restaurant gift cards
  • Stacy shared reminders about our ongoing #ESTN15 exercise campaign and following ESTN on social media.

 

Franklin – In addition to talking about upcoming events and discussing ways to help with needs of survivors and staff, the Franklin Group, led by Gwen Smith, feels everyone benefits when learning something new each month that challenges each person in the complex issues of human trafficking.

This month, volunteer Marissa researched and shared statistics about runaways and the dangers they face in becoming prey to traffickers. She shared that even websites, like WIKIHOW – an extensive online database of how-to-guides – includes a section on “how to survive as a teenage runaway.” The group was challenged with these findings (as is the goal), but remained encouraged to now use this information to take action. With eyes opened members were prompted to pay attention to the red flags and warning signs of situations around them and in their neighborhoods. Be sure if you see something, you say something and call TN human trafficking hotline (855-558-6484) or call for police immediately to do a “wellness check”.

 

Mt. Juliet – This month, the Mt. Juliet volunteer group, led by Sabrina Jewell, hosted a door hanger campaign in their neighborhood. Group members hung approximately 125 door hangers on residential homes to help bring awareness to the community.

 

Murfreesboro - The Murfreesboro volunteers are a bunch of busy bees prepping for another Ride for Refuge! Team Murfreesboro Freedom Fighters is working on creating a couple of cool silent auction baskets and is ready for some fun and friendly competition. In addition, the group is planning an arts and crafts fair for the fall as a separate, local fundraiser and hopes to share their tools for other groups and volunteers to do likewise! Group leader Dana Montgomery says, "Our team has really become a family, consistently looking for unique opportunities to do outreach with education and working towards the mission of ESTN while supporting our members and survivors. We are small in number but our compassion and commitment is proven and consistent!"

 

Nashville – This month, the Nashville volunteers, led by Scott Hardesty,  watched Derri’s TED Talk and had a good discussion about thoughts, feelings, options, and response it produced. The group is really focusing on Ride for Refuge now and engaging volunteers, friends, and family to join & support each rider and walker. The group’s silent auction basket is sports themed and volunteers are working to gather their correlating articles. Let the (friendly) competition begin!

 

West Nashville Community - Although the official kick off for the West Nashville Community, headed by visionary leader Mary Trapnell, isn't until September 8th, the group is wasting no time in engaging their community meanwhile...

The energy level was high in the fellowship hall at Covenant Presbyterian Church Sunday afternoon... which should come as no surprise to the staff, friends and supporters of End Slavery Tennessee.

Interested members of Covenant Presbyterian invited ESTN’s West Nashville Community leadership team to their campus to further educate them about human trafficking in our state and our city, about how End Slavery TN and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are successfully working together in the fight against this crime, and they wanted a brief overview of each team member’s respective role, so that those attending would get a glimpse of the many specific ways they could choose from to participate in this noble and worthy battle.

The high energy, along with passion and enthusiasm for the fight against human trafficking, was clearly evident following a powerfully compelling presentation given by TBI's Jimmy Musice, who heads up the TBI Training and Education committee on ESTN West Nashville Community's leadership team. Jimmy’s presentation was comprehensive and thorough, covering pretty much all facets of the sexual exploitation of minors and adult women, including facts about the victims, the traffickers, the impact of this crime, how to recognize a victim, trafficking examples, laws that have been passed in the state of Tennessee, and so on.   All who listened were riveted.  Eyes were opened and hearts broken as we came face to face with such an unspeakable evil and the cold reality that it is so prevalent in our own state....and more shockingly even in our own neighborhoods. How could something this repulsive that’s occurring all around us be ignored?

Well it wasn’t yesterday.  The response was overwhelming.  No doubt everyone was listening intently for ways they could get involved when the team introduced themselves and their committees.  And it would be safe to expect that the word will spread quickly to the rest of the church family at Covenant Presbyterian.

In the meantime, for those who attended yesterday’s meeting and as a reminder to ESTN’s West Nashville Community and their friends, a great way to find out more information about human trafficking as well as ESTN and TBI’s role in the fight would be to attend ESTN’s WNVC Fall Kickoff Meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, September 8th, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the sanctuary at Christ Presbyterian Church, 2323 Old Hickory Boulevard, Nashville.  Hope to see you there!

 

This is a representative sample from the NINE ESTN community volunteer groups. For times and locations for all group meetings, please click here.