When International Sanctuary was just getting started, volunteers worked out of our founder’s garage, sorting and packing jewelry, selling everything they could while talking to their friends and family about human trafficking. These volunteers, their voices and the time they put in, really have built our organization. I say this to our volunteers all the time, “Without concerned individuals like you, International Sanctuary would not exist!”
With a staff of fewer than 15 people in Irvine, our volunteers bridge many gaps. For example, participating in community events requires two people to set up the display table, interact with shoppers and event-goers, complete PURPOSE Jewelry transactions, and return the jewelry inventory. These events can take anywhere from 4-12 hours. This past holiday season alone, International Sanctuary participated in 47 events - that’s 280 hours! It wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteers.
One of the things I notice across the board with our volunteers is how they connect with the women we empower. Helping with jewelry inventory is more than a counting task, it’s an opportunity to see first-hand the progress each Sanctuary is making in the fight against human trafficking. The time our volunteers spend with the handwritten tags forges a bond between them and the artisans. Seeing names who have been with us for years mixed with new names gives volunteers a big-picture perspective - they can see growth and hope in our girls and women around the world. I truly believe this is why individuals keep coming back to support International Sanctuary with their gift of time.
As the Volunteer Coordinator, it’s National Volunteer Week every week! They never stop inspiring me with their consistent hard work, innovation, and care for the girls in our programs. This week we pause and publicly show appreciation to our volunteers.
Continue bridging the gap in our community and fighting against human trafficking. If you want to be transformed through the power of giving of your time to International Sanctuary, find out more at http://www.isanctuary.org/join-the-team-volunteer/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Chelsea Maietta, Community Engagement Coordinator