By Wendy J Olson, Healing Coach + Founder of Grit Plus Gumption, 3 min read
It is National Volunteer Week!
Ok, so what does that mean?
National Volunteer week was established in 1974 as a way of highlighting ways to be active in our local communities and the inspiring figures who make our world a better place.
One of our core values at Grit Plus Gumption is “Cultivating Community and Connection.” While we aim to do that with our clients, it is also our hope that we can do that with the communities that lovingly support and surround them.
Volunteer opportunities have always been a challenge for us because we keep our clients in a close circle. We are very protective of them and anonymity is essential for some during their healing journey. Most of these women were exploited in one way or another, and re-exploiting them by sharing their deeply personal healing journey is just not our M.O.
Where we most need volunteers is in the day to day operations of all the things that need to get done. The world of social media, website upkeep, newsletters, marketing, and fundraising. We cannot do anything without funding for our clients.
Other ways people can volunteer is by providing gift cards that we could use on retreats, or even volunteer to cook meals for our clients while we are away on retreats. Since our retreats are out of town, this opens up ample opportunity to people all across the country to volunteer with us.
While that may seem difficult to some, it’s exciting for us! As we know, social media has opened up a whole world of opportunity to meet and get to know people outside of the area we reside in. I’ve met all kinds of friends in different states that I’ve connect with on a deeper level and I am grateful for it. These people have become invaluable to my community, and my overall mental wellness.
We also partner with many other local organizations to collaborate and share ideas and resources. One such organization is Valiant Hearts, who runs a large support group for survivors here in the DFW metroplex. Because women come to them at all stages of their journey, some just leaving the industry to others who have been out for years, there is a wide span of needs. It has always been a collaborative dream of ours to host a pop-up shop and boutique where women can shop (for FREE!) for clothing for themselves as well as their children. It would be a great opportunity for the women Valiant Hearts meets on their strip-club outreach to come and feel supported as well.
Since we are two smaller organizations running with minimal staff, it would definitely take a collaborative effort and many willing volunteers to pull something like this off. If this or anything I mentioned in this post sounds like something you’d be interested in helping us with, do not hesitate to reach out! We would love to find a way to get you involved with our organization.
Sometimes we stay away from helping or volunteering because we don’t think what we have to offer is enough, or we don’t feel like we have something to bring. In a recent post, Katherine Givens of Twelve 11 Partners, a survivor leader, shared when asked what people can do to help in the fight against human trafficking, she asks, “What’s in your hands?”
I love this question. First, in order to volunteer or serve your community, you don’t have to think outside the box too far. You could serve your community right where you are, doing what you do best. The body is made up of many parts, and not everybody brings the same set of skills to the table. And thank God for that! How would we get anything done? That means you were given a gift that maybe feels like is not a gift because it’s not as fancy as someone else’s.
The reason that thing you do is a gift is because it comes easy to you. And guess what? It doesn’t come easy to others.
It’s not insignificant.
It’s not small.
It’s exactly what we need.
We need you and your gift. And if you’re willing and you have the time to share, I promise you there’s a place for you here.
You CAN sit with us.
Let’s building community and find healing…together.
Wendy J Olson is the Founder and Executive Director of Grit Plus Gumption Farmstead, a 501c3 nonprofit. She also works as a healing coach, facilitating the Allender Center modality of Story Work, (Narrative Focused Trauma Care. ) She walks with women through their stories of past hurts and traumas, guiding them to freedom and healing.