It with equal measures of sadness and excitement and that I share with you the next chapter in the International Sanctuary story. Our founder, Stephanie Pollaro, has decided to remain on the board but no longer work for iSanctuary in order to pursue another calling. This outcome is not a surprise but a planful change with intense preparation over the past two years in order to position the organization for the next season of growth. We are incredibly grateful for Stephanie, not only for her commitment, dedication, and sacrifice in founding International Sanctuary, but for her continued strength and passion to ensure her transition occurred at a time when the social enterprise and social program and supporting organization are thriving and stronger than ever before. To better understand this change, I am honored to share Stephanie’s reflections on her decision and the implications for iSanctuary going forward. -Wendy Dailey, President
Thirteen years ago, I was called to start an organization to help a group of women I had never met and knew relatively nothing about. All I was given was a name, Sanctuary, and a place, India. I could never had imagined then that I would be standing on the other side of a 13 year journey reminiscing on all the adventures had, obstacles overcome and relationships made while preparing to close that chapter only to begin the next adventure God has in store for me.
Over the last 13 years, I have seen my dream become a reality... actually iSanctuary is much more than I ever dreamt it could be. It is a place of safety and comfort, challenge and acceptance for all who walk through the door. It was an idea that ignited change both in the aftercare world and in people's lives. It is a description of strength like the time I heard “T” say, “we are not weak we are iSanctuary girls!” It is synonymous with quality and excellence, whether it be in the design and craftsmanship of our jewelry, the innovation of our education program or the way we care for each other.
I’m honored to have been partnered with two amazing women, Wendy and Sunita. Both of them believed so deeply in me and the calling I received that they literally walked away from their lives and joined me on this journey. Their individual stories of joining iSanctuary are tremendous testimonies to their faith, loyalty, steadfastness, and commitment. I could not have done this without them and am thankful that we got to do this together-- there is no one else I would have rather done it with!
Of course iSanctuary quite literally would not exist if not for my parents’ immense generosity . They opened up their home and their hearts to not only me and Wendy but to mountains of jewelry, cards and the countless volunteers that were so willing to come by and sit with Wendy and my family as we tagged jewelry, cut fabric for cards or packed boxes.
And to all of you, who have faithfully supported iSanctuary, thank you! Thank you for your prayers, your service, your generosity with your finances, your time and your talents. And most of all, thank you for your commitment to these incredible women. I had it easy; I had the opportunity to know these incredible, resilient, kind, quirky, sassy, smart, talented women, so love and devotion came easy to me. However, I am in awe of those who have served in faith, believing in the life changing impact that iSanctuary is making without getting to witness it first hand.
And of course, to you, the ladies of iSanctuary, THANK YOU! Thank you for profoundly impacting my life. Thank you for trusting me and teaching me about forgiveness, redemption, reliance, joy and hope. Knowing you has been my greatest honor and my life’s blessing. You are my heart!
As I transition out of my day to day managerial role with iSanctuary, I look forward to being an active part of the board and supporting the organization through my position as Founder as we grow the organization. I wholeheartedly believe in the team that God has put into place and I am confident that together we will be able to serve many more people in the years and Sanctuaries to come.
So to everyone who has helped make iS possible, thank you for your friendship, your partnership, your service, your generosity, your passion and your commitment through the years. God has abundantly blessed me with the honor of serving alongside of you.
Grace & peace,
Stephanie’s leaving an incredible legacy where the lives of girls and young women will be transformed for years to come. Early next year, I will be reaching out once again to share how we are expanding our impact through our program and realization of our dream for new sanctuaries. Your partnership – past and future – is essential and we look forward to standing strong in 2017 as we live out Stephanie’s legacy. - Wendy