The concept of nonprofit centers is relatively new. So it makes sense that most people have never heard of them or don’t quite understand them. More nonprofit centers are being built across North America right now and for good reason: they work.
Human Trafficking in Denton
When you think of human trafficking, you probably think of a few different things. The first could be history—you know that the buying and selling of humans has happened since—well, since always.
But you may not think it happens so much now, and where you believe it does happen is influenced by the second thing that comes to mind when you think of trafficking: Hollywood.
Movies like Taken brought a very specific, problematic kind of trafficking to light, which focuses most Americans’ attention to trafficking overseas. What you’re unlikely to think of is North Texas. You’re unlikely to think of people living in places like Southlake and Denton being trafficked, but the reality is this: it does happen here, and it happens often.
Vision Gets Involved
That’s why Vision Ministries has decided to host Human Trafficking 101: Our Children at Risk. We sat down with Carrie Powell, Women’s Coordinator at Vision Ministries, to talk about this community awareness event to understand more about what folks in Denton can get out of attending this seminar series.
What’s important to know, first and foremost, is Vision Ministries is not an organization that combats human trafficking directly. Vision Ministries is an outreach of Denton Bible Church that helps people get on their feet and get connected to the church and a faith community through programming and providing food, clothing, and other essentials.
As Carrie puts it, Vision is a “comfortable place” that the community relies on. They serve a diverse group of clientele and work with a faithful core of volunteers. They are eyes in the community, and what they see is a growing human trafficking problem.
Responding to a Crisis
In response to this, they’ve decided to jump into the fight against human trafficking. One way is through participation in the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition, hosted and facilitated by Serve Denton. The coalition is a space where agencies that serve possible victims of human trafficking can come together to learn more about the issue and work collaboratively to stop trafficking in Denton County and surrounding areas.
Human Trafficking 101 is one of the efforts being made collaboratively to educate the community about what’s going on in Denton County. Over the course of four sessions, different agencies in North Texas that combat human trafficking in a variety of ways will present the community at large with information about how to recognize and report human trafficking as well as how to get involved as volunteers.
Carrie says they decided to hold the event because Vision is committed to taking ownership of Denton’s problems. “I’ve lived in Denton for 20 years. I feel like this is my town,” she says. According to her, initiatives like Human Trafficking 101 create the kind of awareness that “takes idleness and turns it into action.”
And there is a lot of action to be taken. North Texas is home to a growing number of agencies related to human trafficking and are always in search of new volunteers for a wide variety of needs; anything from writing to women who live in shelters to renovating group homes to participating on intel teams that use social media to find potential trafficking victims and perpetrators.
Human Trafficking 101 will take place over the course of four nights from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Denton Bible Church, located at 2300 E. University Drive Denton, TX:
To learn more about the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition, please email Katelynn Blasavage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the second segment of our "Homelessness in Denton" episode! We talked to Leslie Wisenbaker, the chair of the Denton County Homeless Coalition, and Michael Pirtle, the director of Vision Ministries, about what is already going on to alleviate homelessness in Denton and what the community can do to help.
Kim Yarbrough is joining our staff as the director of operations, and we could not be more excited to have her part of our team! Kim and her husband Len were both born and raised in Denton, TX. For the last 26 years, her career has been in banking, working at First State Bank of Denton, AccessBank Texas and Point Bank.
She is a Mean Green Eagle, holding a BBA in Corporate Finance from UNT. Throughout her career, she has been involved in CASA, United Way and Relay for Life. She has followed Serve Denton for awhile now, connecting with our mission.
“I have found through my banking career that my true "joy" has been in helping people to better their lives and let the light shine through me, the love our Savior has for others. It has been a long term goal of mine to work with Serve Denton to help them achieve their mission,” Kim said.
She is excited to be involved with Serve Denton to better our community and bring agencies together for easier access for the less fortunate. You can contact Kim Yarbrough at email@example.com.
Last year, we raised over 26,000 pounds of food for Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry in the city of Denton alone, and this year we raised 22,107 pounds of food county-wide. So what was the disconnect? First, let’s discuss the successes!
While we didn’t collect more food than last year, we still raised over 22,000 pounds of food to benefit our hungry neighbors! That is a huge success. We were also able to give significant amounts of food to organizations that were in serious need, like MHMR and H.O.P.E. Lastly, we had some fantastic, committed volunteers who spent their Saturday sorting the donated food. Because there were 50 volunteers, the sorting took half the time as last year.
Now for the failures...
This year, our aim was to enable the Denton Hunger Coalition to head up the event, but the Serve Denton team failed to delegate tasks and struggled to communicate.
We also rebranded the event, hoping to connect it more closely to the Denton Hunger Coalition instead of Serve Denton. By adding “with the Denton Hunger Coalition” under the new logo, we hoped that would help with the connection.
One of the main components to Mayor’s Day of Concern is the competition aspect. Banks, schools and other industries compete against each other to see who will collect the most food. The winners are then recognized with a plaque at the press conference with Mayor Watts.
Our goal for next year is to really PUSH that aspect in our marketing campaign. If we do, we will probably have more contributing partners, which was one of the problems we had this year.
On the Serve Denton side, we had a turnover with the staff member in charge of the event. This led to a loss of communication. We asked Marc Thompson, a former Serve Denton staff member who led the event in 2015, his thoughts about the 2016 event. He said in 2015, “The success was really simple. It came down to engagement, follow-up, prospecting, delegation and drive for results.”
For next year, we will focus more on those five aspects to set ourselves up for success!
For more information about Mayor’s Day of Concern for the Hungry, contact our Collaboration Program Manager Katelynn Blasavage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serve Denton is partnering with CrossFit Denton to bring a different type of fundraiser to the table. Instead of the infamous 5K, we are holding a CrossFit competition called Fit 2 Serve to support The Wheeler House, a transitional housing facility for moms and children! There is still time to sign up for the competition on Saturday, May 7. You will compete in teams of three (any gender combination) in one of the three categories: RX, Scaled or Battle of the Schools.
Learn more about the competition on the podcast with CrossFit Denton owners John and Kalah Thompson!
[button url="http://www.crossfitdenton.com/#!competition/c6p0" color="color" customcolor=""_top" custom_class="" ]Sign Up for Fit 2 Serve[/button]
Becoming a leader. What all does that entail, and how do you accomplish such a feat? Our staff read The Serving Leader by Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert. The book is an exposition about becoming a leader – a serving leader. Executive directors aren’t the only ones who need to practice becoming a serving leader; there were 5 powerful take a ways from the book that we should all put into practice. Now, in order to understand the 5 action steps, you must understand the format. The traditional leadership pyramid has the leader at the top with the lower positions making their way down the rungs. This book upends the pyramid, so the leader is at the very bottom, serving those now positioned above him. While this is important, this is not the foundation. The foundation starts with the first step:
Here are the 5 steps:
- Run to Great Purpose – Before you begin anything, you must have a solid goal. This goal must be so inspiring that you want to run toward it. In the world of nonprofits, our goal is found in our mission statement. Does your mission make you want to run toward a great purpose?
- Upend the Pyramid – I mentioned this point earlier, so now you know where it stands in the pyramid. Once you have a great purpose, you must make the decision to serve those “below” you in rank. When your organization succeeds, give them the credit, not yourself.
- Raise the Bar – This point is one of the most important to have a successful business, organization or family. Set high standards. If you expect the best, your team will want to reach that goal. If you don’t set the bar at exceptional, they will have no reason to become exceptional.
- Blaze the Trail – If you want your staff, coworkers and volunteers to be exceptional, you must make that effort possible. Remove the barriers, provide the necessary training and give your team the resources they need to achieve greatness. They can’t be exceptional if you don’t train them in that regard.
- Build on Strengths – This last point is the cherry on top. Look for people’s strengths; don’t focus on improving their weaknesses. Give everyone a role that fits their strengths so they can succeed. If someone is great at organization, but poor at public speaking, give that person an organizational role and enlist someone else for the public speaking role.
If you want to learn more about The Serving Leader, check out the book. It is a simple, easy read that explains the steps to becoming a Serving Leader. Help out your team by investing in your potential!
With the winter months approaching, Audacity Brew House and Karma Yoga Denton came together to host Fight the Freeze on Saturday, December 12. This event was a collaborative effort between local businesses and nonprofit organizations with the intent to collect winter gear for people without secure shelter. There were seven drop-off locations around the Denton area including Audacity Brew House, two Kroger locations, The DIME Store and three libraries. Each location had volunteers, recruited by Karma Yoga, who helped organize the drive. This one-day coat drive provided approximately one ton of blankets, sleeping bags and winter clothing for those in need this holiday season. The winter clothing was distributed between Giving Hope INC., Denton County Friends of the Family and Vision Ministries.
If you would like to continue making donations towards this cause, please drop off winter gear at Vision Ministries, located at 626 Wainwright Street, Denton, TX 76201. Their office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Together, we can make a difference for the homeless community!