Name: Rachael Smith
Company/Organization: Freedom 4/24
Job Title: Programs Manager
How long have you been in Lynchburg? Almost three years
Tell us about your professional role:
As the Programs Manager at Freedom 4/24 I get to plan our events and programs that allow our team to further our mission of preventing and ending sexual exploitation and trafficking locally and globally. These programs include our Run 4 Their Lives 5k Race Series across the United States, our Boxes 4 Freedom fundraising initiative, and our Salon Initiative. Fighting for freedom and justice for victims and survivors of human trafficking has been a part of my story since I first travelled to the red light districts of India when I was 14 years old. I love my job because it combines my passion for freedom and justice with my love for people. I get to engage with businesses, individuals, families, and communities across the country on every level to fight for freedom. It is amazing to see so many people step up and use their voice for the voiceless. I love getting to be a small part of empowering and equipping communities to bring justice and help end human trafficking.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
In addition to my full time job I am also a full time online student working towards my degree in Political Science. When I am not working or chipping away at homework I LOVE sitting down with a good book and a hot cup of black coffee with my dog Anna. I love reading anything from political biographies, books about social justice issues, or Russian novels. Send me all your favorite book recommendations!
Who or what inspires you? The fundraisers I have the opportunity to work with everyday inspire me. As I fight for victims and survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation I am amazed by the passionate people that reach out to me, that give their free time, their resources, and their energy to raise money and awareness about this issue. It is awe inspiring. Many of our fundraisers have full time jobs, families, and busy schedules but care enough about this cause to use their platform to educate and provide the resources to continue the fight to prevent and end trafficking. They bring in thousands of dollars and don't keep a cent but have the biggest hearts. They are truly incredible. Whenever I feel discouraged I think of our amazing fundraisers and am motivated to keep going and be the best support to them that I can be!
What's something about not many people know? I love Disney movies. My dog is even named after Princess Anna from the Disney movie Frozen. I will never be too grown up, or not in the mood for, a classic Disney movie. One of my favorites, which I think is highly underrated, is Meet the Robinson's.
Why did you join YPCV? I joined YPCV to learn from other young professionals, empower our community, and to be a part of a safe space to grow, learn, and develop. Community is such an important aspect of success.