A Spark To Light A Fire

Written by our team member, Samantha Brennecke

I didn’t go looking for a solution. Sex trafficking was something I had always been passionate about, something I knew I wanted to change.

I went through high school holding this secret in my heart, this taboo concept - young girls being raped daily, multiple times. You don’t talk about it out loud or to friends and family, because it’s just too much you see. It grosses people out, makes them shiver and is ‘too difficult of a concept for them to bear’.

The truth of the matter is that we aren’t the ones suffering. We are the ones with a choice, and we choose not to speak up.

I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know how to start. Then I found Free To Shine.

It didn’t take long for the website to intrigue me. The beautiful blue and yellow logo and the inspirational words Nicky, our CEO, had written. I had tried before to become a volunteer for a variety of organisations here in Australia, but never got hooked.

Volunteering isn’t like a job. It is not something we have to do to make ends meet and put food on the table. One chooses to volunteer because they have a fire ignited inside. This burning desire to make a difference, to change something drastic. Free To Shine started my fire.

It began with a simple email. I talked about my passion, my reasoning for wanting to join this group. Most organisations I had emailed took a while to respond, and even then it was the generic response formulated by a computer on the other end. Not with Free To Shine.

And so began my journey into the depths of what most people would see as despair - we met and chatted about the issues we are facing, the troubles that lay ahead and the strategy for how to conquer it all. That’s what fuelled my fire. It wasn’t ‘we are going to do what we can’, it was ‘we are going to make a difference and to hell with anyone who stands in our way’. The passion.

I felt an odd sense of familiarity because I knew what this passion was. I felt it inside me, but never before had I joined it together with others. Never before had I realised what a small, like-minded group of individuals can accomplish. I knew in that moment we were going to make a difference. We weren’t just going to bring awareness and raise money through bake sales - we were going to put an end to it. Failure was not and is not an option in our eyes.

Each of us holds inside of us a spark. A dream, a goal, a passion we think about before we close our eyes and when we open them in the morning. It’s easy to get caught up in our everyday lives, to go about our own living and forget about our spark.

But I can promise you, when that spark is lit there will never be enough water to douse the fire that is created. You will have found the courage and strength to push against the odds, to break the barriers of the ‘sheltered’ world that you and I live in. And the one thing we all know about fires - they spread! And when you have a fire in the form of passion, nothing can stop you. Nothing will stop us.