A Freedom Circle is a brilliant way of bringing friends, neighbours and family together to help set more women on a path to freedom. Teresa Vaughn tells us why she decided to set up a Freedom Circle in Atlanta
Why did you decide to set up a Freedom Circle?
After climbing the Alps and visiting a girls’ summer camp in Moldova in July 2015, I recognized the impact these women were making by raising awareness and funding to stand against oppression and modern-day slavery of women and children.
However, the Freedom Climb was an annual event and many women who took part were living throughout the country or internationally. I knew I needed to remain connected, not just with those who climbed, but also with those who prayed, supported and encouraged me during the climb. I needed a local community of women to share what God was doing. I needed a local community of women who desired to make a difference. And, I needed a local community of women who wanted to serve local ministries. For me, that’s how Freedom Circle emerged.
How many people are in your circle at the moment?
We started Freedom Circle Atlanta about six weeks ago. At this time, there are three of us who are “official” members. However, I have about a dozen women who have been participating with me in a local ministry which ministers to refugee women. My approach is to expose women to opportunities, allow them to participate, build relationships and then engage them to become a Freedom Circle member. I am planning a “membership drive” for the Freedom Circle in late January, 2016.
How did you invite people to join?
The other two ladies are Alps Freedom Climbers and so are automatically members of a circle. However, during the membership drive, I will host a luncheon and invite women to join. I will also ask ladies to host a meeting of their friends to share Freedom Challenge’s vision and extend an offer to join.
What do you do as a freedom circle?
Currently, I have been hosting a satellite location for Peace of Thread, a ministry in Clarkston, GA which teaches refugee women to sew. Using designer fabric samples that are either unwanted, out of style, or going to be thrown away, discarded belts, unused jewelry, etc., we design purses from patterns for them to sew. These purses become one of a kind, unique, and beautifully made creations which are then sold, ultimately providing the women an income, possibly for the first time in their life. We have been doing this on a weekly basis. At the beginning of the year, we will begin fundraising for The Freedom Challenge Wyoming event in July 2016.
What are your plans for 2016 as a Freedom Circle?
We will continue working with the local ministry in Clarkston, GA, and we will fundraise for Wyoming. And in January we will start participating in the Million Steps to Freedom campaign, which is where a group of 10 women commit to walking 10,000 steps each for 10 days to raise funds for The Freedom Challenge.
How much of your time does the Freedom Circle take up?
At least one day a week because I work with the local ministry. But otherwise, we have a once a month fundraiser, and then, from January, whatever the Million Steps campaign requires. At this point, it does not take any kind of “administrative” type of time.
What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of setting up a circle?
Honestly, I would say pray, begin, start slow, and have fun! Pray for the Lord to lead you and others to you. Just begin. Initiate whatever it is that speaks to you and your community of friends. Start slow; trust the results to God and you won’t become impatient or overwhelmed. Absolutely have fun! Be mesmerized. Engaged. Passionate.
“Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.” Psalm 82:3-4