Organization Spotlight – Wellspring Living

Wellspring Living is an Atlanta based nonprofit, which works daily to confront the issue of childhood sexual abuse and the exploitation through treatment, education, and advocacy programs for girls and women.

(Interview with Kelley Swan, Director of Communications)

Tell us about yourself and how you got started with Wellspring?
I moved to Atlanta in the spring of 2007. I started a job in the Public Relations department at Stone Mountain Park. I enjoyed the tourism industry, but always felt something was missing.  In June of 2009 I took a leap and went to Washington, DC to work under the fellowship program at the Polaris Project; a leading organization in the fight against sex-trafficking, particularly within the United States.  When the fellowship ended, I returned to Atlanta and began working for Wellspring Living as the Director of Communications.  My calling is to tell the stories of the many women and girls we serve and to spread both the horror and hope these victims endure. I reside in Atlanta with my husband, Alex and 16-month-old son, Lincoln.

What problem are you solving?
Childhood sexual assault and sex trafficking have become “popular” terms.  There is so much talk and even so much advocacy, all of which is important. However, we are solving the problem by providing direct care to the women and girls. By offering them a safe environment, individual and group therapy, life skills, education and family reunification, we are laying foundations that will help them have successful futures.

What is the most valuable resource to you in the work you’re doing?
Truthfully, there are two. 1. Social Media- the absolute best way to get the word out about Wellspring Living, events, stories, needs, etc.   2. Prayer- without powerful prayer partners, we would not be able to do what we are doing. We would simply give up.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer someone doing similar work?
My advice is to focus on the hope. We tend be thrown into very dark places because of the subject of what we are fighting against. It’s easy to get tied up in the negative, horrific stories. It can been emotionally draining, and can cause you to feel hopeless. My advice is to not ignore that side, but to spend the majority of your time focused on the positive part- the hope, second chances that are being provided, the healing, etc.

Who has been the most influential person in your life as you are working to make a difference?
Without a doubt, my parents.  Both of have been very influential in many areas of my life, but both of them are incredibly giving people.  I have seen my parents go without so they can give to others who are in desperate need. I have watched them by gift cards for families in crises who they don’t even know.  The best part is the absolute joy they get out of it.

What is an experience you’ve had that has made you stay motivated in the work you’re doing?
I visit the girls home (my offices are in the administrative building) on occasions and have spent time with several of the girls who are housed there.  It’s interesting how you leave and feel you have made zero impact.  But, the one thing that always warms my heart is to walk back in and have the girls run up to you to hug you.  Knowing I have made an impression on them, no matter the size, is an incredible feeling. Knowing that though I may not work directly with them, I am making a difference for them. I am making HER world better.

How can people join you in what you’re doing?
First by simply recognizing that it is going on all around you. By educating yourself on the issue in your town/city/state. Then by talking about it, get passionate! Start to advocate for organizations who are fighting to make a change. Specifically for Wellspring Living, volunteer with us, host an event, advocate for us, and of course give in a financial manner.

To learn more about Wellspring Living visit: http://www.wellspringliving.org/

You can also follow their work and stories on the Wellspring blog at: http://wellspringliving.wordpress.com/

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