Dari’s Difference

Start Where You Are
So often, we think we must have it together before we can make a difference for others. I recently read about the tragic passing of Jennifer Kempton, founder of Survivor’s Ink. It touched me on several levels, first because I have recently become aware of the growing epidemic of human trafficking in our country. In fact, Asheville is a major hub for this horrible phenomenon because of easy access to several major interstates.

Jennifer’s passing touched me the most because, by her own admission, she still struggled from the scars of her past. A victim of human trafficking, Jennifer was often raped 20 times a day by her captors. Trapped in that horror for six years, she finally broke free in 2013 with a renewed desire to make a difference for other women who were slaves in that world. Captors often “brand” their victims with crude tattoos meant to show their ownership of the women. They include everything from the owner’s name, to symbols denoting property. Jennifer started Survivor’s Ink to provide victims with the ability to cover up the brandings that remained visible even after the women broke free. Her desire for a new beginning in her own life, and a way to cover the horrid reminder of her captivity, prompted her to start a charity specializing in helping other women do the same. Survivor’s Ink works with tattoo artists to provide resources to design a tattoo of the victim’s choosing to cover the brandings left from a time when they had no choice.

Jennifer fought her own battles everyday but didn’t let that stop her from making a difference for other woman who had suffered her same fate. We can learn a valuable lesson from Jennifer — your life does not have to be perfect to make a difference in the lives of others. We are surrounded by hurting people that need us to reach out, even in the smallest of ways.
My GoMAD (Go Make A Difference) challenge for July is to contact a non-profit that fights for a cause dear to your heart and donate time, money, and/or words of encouragement. It can be a simple email or you can ask for a way to volunteer or you can donate funds — but just start where you are and YOU can make a difference!

In case you missed it last month (published online only), here is a little bit about Dari’s Difference and my goal in writing this column:
Several years ago, I hosted a radio show called “Dari’s Difference.” The show featured people in the community who were making a positive impact in their sphere of influence. It also provided encouraging content to inspire listeners to Go Make a Difference! (Go M.A.D.) I want this monthly column to do the same thing for WNC Woman readers. Each month I will encourage you to reach out to those around you; or inspire you to act on a positive challenge; or to promote those who are making a difference – in big and small ways; and engage you (our readers) in positive conversation. My desire is for this to be more than just a column, to be a platform where we highlight and act to make a difference —- no matter how small. If we make a difference for those in our circles, then the ripple effect will broaden that circle and we can impact people on a much greater scale. Please email me at dari@wncwoman.com to share your stories, pics, or other inspirations as you GoMAD for WNC!

**To learn more about Survivor’s Ink check out their website at www.survivorsink.org.

Dari Mullins
Written by Dari Mullins