The exciting part about working with survivors in our community is watching them meet their goals step-by-step and slowly become empowered, independent women. Though it might be hard to see it from the outside, as our supporters know well that survivors have many roadblocks in their lives, our team constantly witnesses improvements in survivors’ lives and celebrates all their achievements.
In our weekly support group, our Grace House Residents and other survivors in our community share their accomplishments that they have achieved throughout the week with each other. Even though the floor is open to discussing the struggles they are currently facing, participants often share the good things that they are doing and the ways their life is getting better. Wefrequently recognize when our sisters hit sobriety milestones, get their driver’s license, purchase a car, move into independent housing, get a job, and many other positive accomplishments that they achieve. As the majority of our staff are survivors, we know first-hand how many setbacks survivors face and how special it is when they meet each milestone, so each one is worth celebrating.
Though they are not always present when we celebrate, many of our volunteers have used their creativity to contribute to these celebrations. Volunteers have donated gift cards, provided handwritten birthday cards, prepared meals for support group celebrations, and one volunteer has also committed to making personalized, beautifully decorated, and delicious birthday cakes for our sisters’ birthdays.
“When I first started volunteering for Alabaster Jar, they needed someone to bring a birthday cake and balloons for a birthday party,” Shona, our AJP cake volunteer, shares with us. “Well, that is right up my alley. My favorite hobby is throwing birthday parties and making custom cakes. I asked to be the birthday party person and started taking requests for cake flavors and designs. It has been such a blessing to get to use my passion to bless the survivors of Alabaster Jar and let them know they are loved and special by creating cakes unique to them.”
It is really rewarding to watch survivors’ faces light up when they see their personalized cake, and we are so happy to see volunteers find such unique ways to serve them. What may seem simple to most means so much to our entire community. In exploitation, birthdays are often not celebrated and don’t carry many positive memories for survivors, so we use their birthdays as an opportunity to form new, warm memories for each survivor in which they are honored by their community. Volunteering to contribute to that celebration means a lot to our survivors.
We encourage all of our supporters to be creative when deciding how to serve the AJP survivor community and to choose something they enjoy to share with them. Not everyone has lots of money or time to donate to our cause, but everyone has something to give. The possibilities are endless! Contact us through our website to discuss with our team how your special skills and talents can be used to support our survivors.
As always, thank you for supporting what we do. We are often inspired by the love our community has for the women we serve and encourage everyone to give in a way that is close to their hearts.
written by Amanda Moon Ellevis