Volunteer Spotlight - Sharissa
The Freedom Café has a vibrant volunteer program that connects individuals from a diverse range of ages and expertise. Over 75 individuals, including 50+ high school and college students, are equipped each year to be advocates. These volunteers help run the café counter, host community gatherings, plan awareness events, and manage the organization’s marketing, communication, research, and fundraising efforts. The Freedom Café educates volunteers on social justice issues and empowers them to take action, while helping them develop meaningful transferrable skills that carry over into their vocational endeavors.
The journey of one of our UNH student volunteers, Sharissa, paints a great picture of how volunteers grow as advocates during their time at The Freedom Café. Sharissa connected with The Freedom Café in the fall 2014 and got excited about our project goal to fund the construction of a clinic for survivors of bonded slavery in Nepal. Sharissa went home over the Holiday break and started talking up the project with her friends and church community. When she returned for the UNH spring semester she had raised $250 that she wanted to donate. We opted to use the funds as a matching gift and hosted a special open mic night where everyone's donations were doubled. We raised $600 that night and by the end of the semester had raised the $3600 needed to build and stock the clinic.
As Sharissa's knowledge of the issue grew, so did her passion to help end human trafficking. Sharissa connected with another volunteer who was passionate to help spread the word and the two of them initiated a student outreach team. The Freedom Café provided speaking training and helped the group develop 3 accessible seminars. Two months later they had given 8 presentations in residence halls, class rooms and a 200+ lecture class. This spring, as a social work major, Sharissa was able to bring the knowledge she had gained at The Freedom Café to her senior year internship where she created and presented an awareness and prevention program about human trafficking for the High School students with whom she was working.
Guests and volunteer applicants continue to share how those presentations inspired their own further research and engagement with the issue.
Join the The Freedom Café and be a part of the movement to end human trafficking today!