November 26, 2014

As I prepare for Thanksgiving, I, like many of you, begin by asking myself what I am thankful for.  This year like all the rest of the years I find my list to be long and humbling.  In addition to the regulars on my list: freedom, health, family, and clean drinking water, there are these special gratitude shout outs as well:

  • I'm thankful for the three interns in India that are guiding, supporting, and building up our program and our girls.

  • I'm so thankful to be a part of the adventure called life with so many amazing young women we serve who are embracing the challenge of becoming stronger wiser women (many more than are mentioned below).

  • I'm thankful that Miss T finally sees her value and is giving herself the respect she deserves.

  • I'm thankful for Miss S and how much responsibility she's taking on and how she's grown as a leader.

  • I'm grateful to have Miss M & Mrs. M back with us as even stronger wiser women.

  • I'm thankful for the reports of teamwork between Miss B and Miss G

  • I’m grateful for the constant love and help from Miss A.

  • I’m thankful I got to be a part of Mrs. P’s wedding earlier this year.

  • I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to watch Miss Y mature and develop into a confident young woman.

  • And of course I’m thankful for the tireless hours that our staff, volunteers and donors sacrifice to ensure that all these incredible ladies have a loving workplace community to go to every day and income to support themselves.

Personally, I’m thankful for the time I was given over the summer to take a sabbatical so I could refresh my mind, body and spirit.  During my sabbatical I had the opportunity for self-reflection and I realized if I was going to be a part of taking iSanctuary to the next level I had to start with myself first.  I came to learn that I had to reevaluate how I defined a few highly influential constructs: Strength, independence, wisdom and capability.  For my development as a woman and a leader and for iSanctuary, as we push forward towards accomplishing our 2020 Vision (expanding to 10 sanctuaries worldwide, serving more girls and women rescued from human trafficking) I firmly believe that strength must be viewed as the ability to be vulnerable, wisdom - the search for answers, and capability - embracing limits as a gift.  I’m still wrestling with independence; ironically I think it’s related to strengthening community.

My sabbatical was truly a gift of time that has allowed me the ability to enlarge my gratitude, learn the value of being present, and strive for new levels of authenticity.

I’m thankful for this extended holiday as it allows me to once again stop, take a break from the craziness of life and enjoy the many gifts I have been given.  May your holiday weekend be filled with rest and gratefulness as well!


Stephanie Pollaro

Founder, International Sanctuary

Alexandra Badie