Jan. 25, 2023
For 25 years, Nashville, TN-based Thistle Farms has provided a path of healing and hope for women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction.
Prior to the official opening of NBAA’s 2023 Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference – as part of the week-long conference’s Day of Service – about 30 attendees took time to learn more about the organization, meet some of the women it has helped and volunteer their time to make products to be sold in the group’s store.
As one of the largest non-profits that helps victims of human trafficking, the organization’s mission to provide a two-year residential sanctuary for healing has changed the lives of hundreds of women. Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Clinger, who herself was helped by the organization, said, “We heal and do anything to help the next person heal.”
Ian Lumpp, co-chair of NBAA’s Young Professionals Council and Midwest Regional Sales Executive for Polaris Aero, said, “Seeing the passion the ladies at Thistle Farms have, and hearing their incredibly complex stories, almost brought me to tears. I’m happy NBAA and SDC2023 partnered with them so we could learn about the program and give back to the local community.”
Samantha Garrison, from Wonderful Aviation and a member of NBAA’s Business Aviation Management Committee, agreed.
“It’s really nice that they haven’t forgotten the women who’ve already lived life and made decisions and choices, and that now they have another chance regardless. It’s important to help people realize you’re never too old to change,” she said.
“I support a global program that’s non-profit and battles trafficking all over the world,” Garrison added. “Every year, I support a gala that we hold in our hangar, so when I saw what this was, specifically, it was near and dear to my heart.”
About Thistle Farms
After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5 years old, Becca Stevens longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, she opened the first home as a sanctuary for five women survivors.
Four years later, the women were making great strides in recovery, but struggling to become financially self-sufficient due to employment barriers. To address this, Stevens, volunteers and residents began making candles in a church basement and, in 2001, Thistle Farms’ social enterprises were born. The organization’s three social enterprises – Body & Home, The Café and Global Shared Trade – provide jobs for survivors, as well as revenue for its mission.
“We believe that love is more powerful than all the forces that drive women to the street, and a strong community will help them not only heal, but thrive.”