Author Archives: Not For Sale Fellows

From Aelea: Sunshine in Half Moon Bay

As I am typing this a few of us fellows are sitting in the living room, windows open, and are all busy on our laptops. While all doing various different things, one thing we all have in common is the fact that we are enjoying what is referred to as a “BSD”. BSD, if you didn’t know, stands for Blue Sky Day. It is something that doesn’t happen very often here in Half Moon Bay and when it does, you need to take a few moments out of your day and enjoy it.

Enjoying the day and enjoying what we are doing here are two things that we do, however we don’t do with enough intent and realization behind it…

The weeks are busy and I find myself doing so many things in one day that when it’s time to submit my dashboard on a Sunday afternoon, I find myself surprised at all the things I did. The thought “I did all that this week?” often comes into my mind, thinking whatever the task was, I did it weeks ago. Things are fast paced and always changing and it’s an environment I am adjusting to and beginning to love.

Laughter. As we all sit at our laptops, the random sheep in an unknown yard nearby yard starts to bleat. And not just a regular one, but a long, awkward sound.  We all look at each other and burst out laughing. Wonderful.

Back to being busy. When working with NFS, there’s never a moment where you feel like you are done. I am all too familar with the “I’ve done all my work for the day and I still have a couple hours/all afternoon left to work!” feeling. This is simply incredible for me. My last job left me feeling quite bored and like I had so much left to offer at the end of the day. With the Fellowship, the end of the day comes and I am beat! I feel accomplished in the tasks I completed, excited about the work yet to be done, and satisfied knowing that there is always  more work to be done. We are ending modern-day slavery. Your work never ends at 5pm.

First bottles of REBBL

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve had a chance to do some amazing things! REBBL has been launching and we’ve been working at launch parties. The most recent being at the Causes head office in San Francisco. The view from their 21st floor space is the best view I’ve seen in San Francisco and the event left us all pumped about NFS, REBBL and Causes!  The Causes staff are friendly and into the work that NFS and REBBL are doing.

The View from the Causes Office
A Fashion Movement for Change

This past week us lady-fellows went up to San Francisco to a Sustainable Fashion show.  We got all dressed up and headed into the big city. It was a fun experience and I definitely feel at home in San Francisco. The sustainable fashion show featured {r}evolution Apparel who are the makers of the Versalette, and Sew Love Style showing their top and new Tulip Skirt. I felt so trendy being there and seeing a fashion show that is so forward thinking. A couple of the girls really got their networking on and told everyone they could about NFS and exchanged business cards. Myself and another girl just took it all in; the environment, the different people, the venue. We wanted to relish the experience. At the end of the fashion show part of the evening they had the Versalette present for people to try on. I jumped at the chance of trying it on since I want to get one when they are on sale. It was a blast and I will for sure remember it.

Posing with the Versalette

Moments like the fashion show, laughing at the house and enjoying the BSD make it easy to take moments to realize what you are doing, I mean REALLY doing, and appreciate it. It’s easy to take a few steps back and enjoy the atmosphere.

My goal for  this week is to take moments in the middle of the day and while taking a sip of water, waiting for an email to load, or walking to or from work, is to take that brief moment, that moment that could be as easily fleeting as a quick ocean breeze while going for a jog, and acknowledge where I am, what I am doing, and really enjoy it.

When you think about it, we really are working to end modern-day slavery. We’ve been selected from over 30 applicants to come to Half Moon Bay and work with those who are already devoting their life to seeing justice prevail and, for me, to see Love overcome. We are small but are part of the bigger picture. The first part of my day, aside from checking my personal @nfs email account is checking the general email account. While at times, it can seem annoying to be the person that needs to respond to all these random emails, and when you’re tired and it’s been cloudy and cold for a week it can be exhaustive.  However, looking through those emails is one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my day. The emails from people that read along the lines of ‘How can I get involved?’, ‘What can I do to help?”, ‘How can I join the movement to end slavery in our time?’ get me SO pumped! People are encouraged by the work we do. People care.  People want to be involved. People are feelingcalled to be involved. If moments like that can’t make me enjoy what I am doing  here, nothing will. That one of the many reasons I am so happy to be here.

The more people that know slavery exist today, the more people will a stand against it. The more people who gain knowledge of slavery in supply chains and how they are part of it due to their consumerism, the easier it will be for them to make smart choices. The more people out there making informed decisions, the more businesses and companies will change their ways.  The less demand, the less slavery. All of this results in more people like you and me working to change the cycle and lives of those at risk and provide them them with sustainable new future options!

Those moments sipping my water, waiting for an email to load, walking to or from work, those moments will be spent this week full of gratitude to be here, thankfulness for the opportunity, encouragement from the blessings in my life allowing me to be here, and enjoyment, soaking in every moment.

Mandolyn Orrell | Final Blog Post

It has been a month since the fellowship ended.  I know; I’m really late in submitting this blogpost, and there is an amazing new group of fellows at NFS.  There was just so much to process, and every time I wrote the blogpost, more exciting things happened in the abolitionist movement that I wanted to include in this post!  I am currently on a 15-hour flight, looking at the beautiful snow-covered landscape of Siberia outside my window, listening to Adele, and thought there was no better time to write my final post (for a 3rd time).

 

I want to start by sharing a couple of thank you’s….  First, Keturah- YOU. ARE. THE. WOMAN.  I’ve said this before, but without you (and the abundant grace of God), I would have not made it through the fellowship.  Thanks for  the figurative butt-kickings, encouragement, listening ear, and the list goes on.  You helped me learn the power of my story, and how to tell it effectively.  Thank you.  You definitely are the only person fit, equipped, and able to run the fellowship.

 

Jill-  Queen Bean.  You are wealth of knowledge and encouraged me to put my all into my work.  You never let me settle for anything, and helped me see my strengths and develop them.  Thank you for all of this, and for helping me better myself so I can be the best abolitionist I can be.

 

I look forward to keeping up with you both!

The fellowship ended with so many uncertainties for me – not knowing details about what was next.  I was exhausted from the fellowship, and needed rest to clear my mind and gain a fresh perspective of my place in the movement.  Well, rest didn’t come, but I was refreshed and have a better grasp on the possibilities that lie ahead and a better perspective on what went on the past 6 months.

 

Reflecting back on the fellowship, I would say it very well was one of the most formidable experiences I have gone through.  I learned so much about myself, my character, strengths, weaknesses, passions – what makes me, me – and how to use all of this for the fight against modern-day slavery.  I also learned what all goes on to eradicate slavery in our lifetime, all angles, needs, controversies, and innovative solutions.  The fellowship helped develop some very important professional skills, as well.  New Fellows- be open, be flexible, and have fun (remember to have fun sometimes… you’ll need goofy times to survive).  Others reading this- remember, and encourage, these young people that have committed 6 months of their lives to training in how to end slavery in our lifetime.  It is a hard (but oh, so good) time, and they will face a lot during this time, both professionally and personally.

 

Ok, onto the exciting stuff I mentioned… I caught the redeye to the Carolinas the day after the fellowship to visit with friends and family for the holidays.  When I landed at the airport, I had 3 missed calls from friends, all with the same message: “Mandolyn!!  You have to meet with the pastor!  He preached about human trafficking!” In short, this started a whirlwind month of meetings with pastors at my church in America, lots of people from the church and the community, and former professors that wanted to know more details about the issue and how they can get involved.  Also, the Passion 2012 conference, held in Atlanta every year, was focused on modern-day slavery!  This has sparked a fiery passion to be part of the movement in over 44,000 young people, many whom I know from the Carolinas.  In the past 30 days, I was given the opportunity to meet with over 450 new abolitionists!!!  In a place where there was no real understanding of human trafficking, this is amazing!  When I got on the plane leaving NFS, I knew for sure what my next steps were- be in the Carolinas for a month, then hop on a plane headed back to Korea (thank you generous soul for the ticket!).  But with the looks of the movement spreading to the Carolinas, I’ve got more options to think about and pray through.  The future now is bright, full of such incredible opportunities and possibilities.  I absolutely would not have been equipped to handle these incredible and strategic meetings, or be able to fully evaluate future endeavors, had it not been for my time as an NFS Fellow.  I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had while at NFS for anything.  The good and the difficult molded me and shaped me, professionally and personally.  The motto that NFS headquarters always says has stuck with me… “Are we better this week than we were last week?”  I am a better abolitionist now than I was a week ago, a month ago, or 6 months ago, and I will continue to be a better abolitionist through the invaluable tools and relationships I gained from the fellowship experience.

 

I am now off to Korea, to figure out what is next, and serve with HOPE Be Restored and NFS Korea.  Looking forward to the future!

Hank Voge | Final Blog Post

Well, the fellowship has ended. I am enjoying a three-week break with my family, but Not For Sale has hired me to work from January through March on their videos.  I have been using my time off to reflect on my goals for the next three months of work.

Before I left, one of our designers suggested that the video titles and logos should “match the quality of the videos.” Now, this sort of recommendation is just a polite way of saying that the video titles suck. Gabe thinks they are fine, so maybe I shouldn’t worry. Tie goes to the videographer.  But I’m the sort of person who, given half a chance, will worry about everything he can.  So I have been researching and designing new title designs. I am pretty pumped by what I have done. I wonder if Gabe will approve the changes.

Let’s see… Other goals.  I would like to make more creative videos. Many of my assignments are announcements with B roll on top–which is necessary and fine by me. But I would love more opportunities to stretch my creative muscles. Shooting the store commercial and the free2work promo was lots of fun.  I’m not going to wait for the opportunity. I am going to enter every project wondering, “How can I make this different than the others?”

I would like to get better at motion graphics. I have been rocking Apple Motion 4.0, but the program is annoying. Half the things I want to do are impossible with that program. As I get better, I keep thinking about Photoshop and After Effects. By March, I would love to be talented enough for Adobe Studio.

And there you have my goals. This blog entry is my last, so for anyone reading these, you will have to watch the videos to see how I am doing on these goals. Thanks for reading.

“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.  We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth.”   –Abraham Lincoln, 1862

Keturah Scott – Reflections on the Fellowship

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.

Christy Sobolik | Final Blog Post

NFS Fellowship Blog, Week 22—There and Back Again

(Beware, ye who enter here.  There be cheesiness ahead.)

 

Looking back on my fellowship, a quote from The Lord of the Rings comes to mind:

 

“‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ [Bilbo] used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’”

 

I feel like this same thing could be said about working with Not For Sale.  From the beginning it’s been such a whirlwind of activity, and each time I started a new project, I was never sure where it was going to take me.  While I didn’t battle any dragons or destroy any evil talismans in the last six months, it’s been quite an adventure.  And I would like to think that in some small way, my work at Not For Sale has helped bring down the real-life Saurons of our time.

 

There were a lot of challenges that came along with this fellowship—some of which I expected, and some of which I didn’t expect.  Sometimes it was really hard.  And sometimes it was distinctly non-glamorous.  But that’s the reality of being an abolitionist.  To bring about this kind of massive social change, a great deal of hard work, sacrifice, and humility will be required.  And sometimes I just want to run away from it all, and go find a safe job that I’m good at, where the stakes of failure are much lower.  But I’m reminded of another moment from The Lord of the Rings.  Frodo is speaking to Gandalf about his fear of bearing the responsibility of the Ring Bearer.

 

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”

 

I’ve decided what to do with the time that’s given to me, and I’ve decided that I will, in some way, bear the responsibility of destroying the evil that is slavery.  I may be leaving the Not For Sale office, but I am not leaving the abolitionist movement.

 

My immediate next steps can be summed up in the famous words of those television commercials from the 80s:

 

“Christy, you’ve just completed the Not For Sale Fellowship.  What are you going to do next?

“I’m going to Disneyland!”

 

That’s right.  I will be celebrating the completion of the fellowship by spending a day in Disneyland with my mom.  After that, I will hit the grad school apps, and start seriously figuring out where I am going from here.  Whatever that is, though, I will continue to be a part of this fight.

 

So then, for the last time, over and out.

Christy

Natalie Wartew | Final Blog Post

Week 21:


I remember wondering back in week 1 how on earth I was going to be able to write 21 blogs, so it feels like quite an achievement to be writing number 21!  That is an example of how this week has been – remembering the beginning, looking at the now, and then measuring the difference.  We spent a lot of time reflecting on how we have each developed personally, and also how we have developed the movement during our time with Not For Sale by the work that we have done.

 

We also had a great time this week celebrating the end of the Fellowship – a whole group of us went bowling.  Naturally, things are pretty serious at work, and there rarely seem to be enough hours in the day, so it was so good to see everybody being able to take some time out to have fun!

As Fellows, we have worked on a number of different platforms in a number of different roles, and now it is time to change roles again.  We will no longer be in the office every day, or working in the store, or out at NFS events, but we will all keep the title ‘abolitionist’.  ‘Abolitionist’ goes beyond a job description – it is a way of thinking, a way of living, a commitment to fighting injustice.  And if you have been reading these blogs, then you are fuelling the movement with your interest – you are a modern-day abolitionist – welcome to the movement ;)

 

So that brings me to the end of the Not For Sale Fellowship program.    Thank you Keturah Scott our Fellowship Director, the Not For Sale Team, and to everyone who has supported my fellowship.  Together we are ending slavery in our lifetime.

 

Natalie x

Diana Cannon | Final Blog Post

So this is it.  The Last Blog.  Even though I keep telling myself that, it still hasn’t fully hit me that once I finish typing this and hit send, my time as a fellow is over.  Maybe it will sink in on Monday when I don’t wake up until noon because there’s no need to drag myself out of bed at 7 (counting snoozes, more like 7:30) in order to make it to Half Moon Bay at 9.  Then again, maybe not.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I do wake up at noon, panic, and make it halfway up 280 before I realize that no one is expecting me there.
So I’m not a fellow.  By the time you read this, that will really be true.  Strange.  Since I’m finally authorized to talk about it, though, I will let you know that my time at Not For Sale isn’t over.  Starting next year, I’ll be doing some contract research for Free2Work.  I’m super excited about that.  Partly because the research I do is my favorite part of what I’ve been doing all these months and it will be fantastic to focus on just that, partly because I’m not ready to say goodbye to everyone yet, and partly because I’ll get to see the new batch of fellows coming in.  I plan to befriend at least one of them in order to make them my spy in the fellows house. If any of you guys are reading this and would like to volunteer, just give me a wink when we meet and I will contact you in a covert manner subsequently.  Actually, though, I want to meet the new fellows because I think it will make me feel the difference between where I am now and where I was on my first day.  I’ve learned a lot since then, and I’ve grown a lot as a person since then.  But in a lot of ways, it still feels so recent that it’s difficult for me to specify exactly how I’ve changed.
I know they’re all good changes, though.  I’ve really valued these last six months.  There were definitely highs and lows, but overall I know that I’m coming away from this with new skills, new friends, and a more mature passion for this cause.  So even if it is the end of my fellowship, all of those things will stay with me and change the way that I live my life from here on out.  And with that thought, I bid you goodbye.  It’s been fun, readers.  But now it’s time to make the way for some new abolitionist bloggers.  You’ll meet them soon.
All the best,
Diana