I first heard about human trafficking crimes in Tennessee in 2009 in Chattanooga. I remember where I was, the seat I was sitting in, and being thankful the lights were low as I sobbed. I knew in that moment that God had placed this mission on my heart: to help women in recovery. I also knew it would be awhile until that mission could be a possibility.
After I graduated college in 2012 I had the opportunity to spend the summer in Missoula, Montana on a mission trip. Immediately after spending a couple of weeks in Montana I fell in love with it! I loved the culture of Missoula: dogs literally everywhere, hiking, camping, helping my church, and growing in my faith. By the end of that summer, I decided to load up my Kia Spectra with what it could hold, sell everything else, and move across the country to Missoula. After about 6 months, I heard about a job opening at Teen Challenge Montana Women’s Outreach, a year-long, live-in recovery program for women with drug and alcohol addiction. It was evident God was nudging me to consider it. In total and complete fear and uncertainty, I took the job!
Through my experience as the Volunteer, Outreach, and Intake Coordinator at Teen Challenge, my maturity and faith grew exponentially. I walked in completely naive to the world of addiction and human trafficking and walked out a changed person. I was scared – a lot. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and every day I was faced with the challenge of helping women through something I couldn’t relate to. God gave me the wisdom when I needed it most, and I will never forget my time there.
In 2014 I married Cameron, my best friend, and at the end of that year, we decided to move back to East Tennessee. Literally a month after we moved back, we found out I was pregnant! NOT part of the plan, but we were excited anyway!
When we moved back from Montana I decided to research local nonprofits that help women in recovery, and I stumbled upon CCAHT/Grow Free! I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved, but also knew I had to wait until the right time. I decided to sell Thirty-One after our daughter was born to help us out financially so that I could stay home. As soon as I found out I could fundraise through Thirty-One, I knew exactly who I wanted to help: Grow Free! I finally found a way to help support them. I greatly enjoyed working alongside them for the March fundraiser and I hope to do more in the future. I love seeing lives changed and meeting others with the same desire to see women recovered and healed from human trafficking crimes. I hope my involvement with CCAHT/Grow Free can continue to grow, and I can’t wait to see what all is in store for them!