My Volunteer Trip

Hey Everyone!

As many of you already know, in January, I lost my job, but this wasn’t just a “job” to me. It was my life’s passion. I poured every ounce of my heart and soul into the work I believed was making a difference in the lives of not only kids in Connecticut, but around the world.

To give you a little history, I first heard about human trafficking during my first semester of grad school when one of the co-founders of an organization called Love146 spoke at a related symposium. At that point in my life, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my social work degree except that I wanted to help others. It was during that speech that I had my Oprah “aha” moment. This is what I wanted to dedicate my life towards. I am an Abolitionist!

Within a few years, my dream of working for the organization that forever changed my life came true. It was 2009 when I reconnected with Love146 and at the time, I was the only person facilitating Prevention Education with youth in Connecticut geared specifically towards issues of vulnerabilities, recruitment, and trafficking. Love146 believed in the need for Prevention Education as part of their mission to end child trafficking and exploitation and soon hired me to lead their prevention work in Connecticut.

Throughout my time at Love146, my work never felt like a “job” to me. I was always so happy to get up in the morning, to learn…to make a difference. The youth I worked with lit up my life. They are such wonderful, funny, insightful and significant voices in the world. I learned from them every day.

Losing this program, and my job was difficult, but I truly believe it came at a right time. Shortly after, I was presented with an opportunity to be part of a research team in Thailand focusing on vulnerabilities of street-working and homeless children in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. While slightly different from what I was doing before, I will be contributing to the work I have done for several years from a different perspective.

The goal of this research project is to help inform best practices for caregivers already working with this population throughout Southeast Asia. What’s more, is this endeavor will give me the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge that I can later apply to my future work with youth. While working with these grassroots organizations that fight to protect children in Thailand, I will be able to see how other cultures practice social work and determine how these ideologies can better serve children in the United States.  I truly believe this experience will not only help me grow as a social worker, but also as a person, encouraging me to live outside of my comfort zone every day.

Please know that these funds will only be used for my living expenses while working specifically on this project and any additional money raised will go directly to the organizations we will be assisting. (The Hub, http://childlinethailand.org/the-hub/ and Urban Light, http://www.urban-light.org/about_us).

My hope is to reach beyond my goal by May 1st so I can present any leftover funds or additional monies raised to the organizations I am working with in a timely fashion.

Thank you for your donations and support!

With much love and appreciation,
Nicole

Donations

  • Steve and Eileen Hayes 
    • $250 (Offline)
    • 62 mos
  • Kimberly, Rob and Kurt Bryant 
    • $150 (Offline)
    • 62 mos
  • Karen & Jack St. Pierre 
    • $25 (Offline)
    • 62 mos
  • Karola Nettles 
    • $25 (Offline)
    • 62 mos
  • Chris Grillo 
    • $20 
    • 62 mos
See all

Organizer

Nicole Weston 
Organizer
New Haven, CT
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more