When I was asked to write a short piece on why I volunteer, I thought that's easy - it's because I enjoy it. I enjoy the atmosphere and the camaraderie at the office. I enjoy the work, be it packing or unpacking for events, inventory counts, or working events. And there is my favorite, counting in the shipments of jewelry from overseas - it's like Christmas for me.
But as I thought about it, I realized there is so much more to what iSanctuary means to me. It isn't that I get a sense of a great calling - my part is one of support more than of saving the world, and somewhat menial support at that. I'm not anywhere near the front lines of rescue, or of giving physical, legal, or emotional support to the trafficking survivors. But it is the small tasks and gestures that are the most meaningful.
It is working with a woman in the Professional Opportunities for Survivors of Trafficking (POST) program as she sets up her first checking account. It is explaining what an offer of a credit card means. It is assisting with studying for a driver's license test, knowing that that license will bring mobility and independence.
In the wake of trauma, there are difficult situations that survivors must face; I have to remind myself that my job isn't to fix any of these women's lives. I am just a part of helping them with daily choices that can ultimately lead to a life of true freedom.
I started volunteering with an altruistic attitude of "helping". I had time to donate, and a desire to "be a part of something bigger than me." I have come to realize that what I gain is always so much more than I can give. The community and friendship offered by both the staff and the POST participants is something I treasure. While my life had great meaning and purpose before I volunteered, that has been magnified through volunteering. Every time I leave the office or an event, each staff member gives me a genuine "thank you". But I have to respond, "No, thank you for letting me partner with an enterprise so filled with love and hope."
Authored by Kathy K., International Sanctuary and PURPOSE Jewelry Volunteer
We are so thankful for Kathy's willingness to share her heart for serving. One of our core values at International Sanctuary is "Heart to Serve" and volunteers bring so much of that to our organization. As we mark time to celebrate those who so selflessly give, we would like to thank all of our volunteers for their service, passion, and perspective!
If you'd like to join our wonderful group of volunteers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.