At the end of each fellowship session, I am a mixed bag of emotions. I am introspective, reflective, sad, exhausted, proud, and challenged to find the appropriate words to say goodbye to those that have evolved from co-worker to friends.
Oftentimes, people at Not For Sale call me Mama Keturah – and I never feel more like a mother than when I am saying goodbye to a group of Fellowship graduates. I am overcome with a maternal feeling of pride. I am proud of the work, accomplishments, sacrifice, and personal and professional growth that each of the fellows experienced during the last six months. I send them off, hoping that I have prepared them for the future, wondering what new adventure they will embark on, and cherishing so many individual memories. Bittersweet.
At the same time that I reflect on the past, I look forward to the incoming group, working hard to prepare an incredible program by utilizing the experiences of the past fellows.
The fellowship program is designed to give individuals an opportunity to work professionally alongside NFS National staff members. Fellows are expected to contribute significantly to the growth and development of NFS projects through their own innovation, hard-work, personal experiences, dedication, and passion.
In addition to giving individuals a unique work experience, there is an innovative, thought-provoking curriculum filled with reading, writing, and interactive assignments. As the fellows and I learn to balance the academic assignments and work assignments, we also learn personal character development. Personal character development is one of the most unique aspects of this fellowship program.
Ending modern-day slavery is not an easy feat. It takes all the passion, sacrifice, labor, effort, aspiration, commitment, hope, and patience that one has to offer – and then more. Additionally, working in a non-profit environment is also a challenge. There is always too much to do, not enough people to do it, not enough funding, and so on. You learn how to be flexible, how to be innovative, how to problem solve, and how to be a Macgyver, making the most out of the tools at hand.
Working in this field, you will learn that you must execute. Ideas, programs, and projects are meaningless without proper execution. You will learn how to remain hopefully passionate, to take joy in the small victories such as the individual stories of rescue and rehabilitation.
At Not For Sale, you will learn that it is not about the individual, but about the collective and about the cause…..
It is challenging, it is difficult, it is overwhelming. Yet at the beginning of each new day, you will embrace the challenge because you know that you are playing a central role in making history, in ending slavery, in creating new futures for survivors.
Together, we will end modern-day slavery in this lifetime.