Meet Ruth Atkins
If you haven’t met Ruth Atkins yet, you should.
As CTF’s Volunteer Coordinator, Atkins is the gentle soul who recruits, vets, and seeks suitable placements for folks interested in lending a hand at Call to Freedom.
An administrative professional all her adult life, Atkins began her career at Avera McKennan where the hospital’s volunteer coordinator caught her admiration.
“I thought it was such a neat career,” she says.
Ten years later Atkins got her first shot at mobilizing her own group of volunteers. By then she’d moved on to a bank where she spearheaded an effort to match employees with community needs over the Christmas holiday.
Unfortunately, she was later laid off, but she found her work with volunteers so rewarding that her unexpected job search had an unintended benefit — it honed her career path. Now seeking to work with volunteers full-time, Atkins landed a position as the Director of Volunteers at a hospital near Denver, CO.
That experience is what made Atkins a perfect fit to head up the volunteer program at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science. Not only would she be back in her home state, but — even better — she’d be building the program from the ground up. Atkins immersed herself in learning the ins and outs of the Pavilion so that each volunteer could be used effectively. She retired after 13 years there, leaving a thriving volunteer base behind.
“This was a dream I had, and God brought it to me,” Atkins says. “It’s my niche.”
By contrast, what initially drew Atkins to Call to Freedom was far from a dream. Three years ago she realized that human trafficking was affecting someone dear to her, and she sought help. She met Executive Director Becky Rasmussen at an awareness event and things grew from there.
“I was asking Becky questions before she’d even had a chance to set up her table and put out her brochures,” Atkins says. “She worked with our family from then on.”
Through that process, Atkins realized that Call to Freedom — then a fledgling organization — could use some extra hands, specifically ones skilled in mobilizing volunteers. She began as the volunteer Volunteer Coordinator two years ago.
“Trafficking wraps around a victim in a way that’s hard to disentangle. It’s smothering, and that’s why the services that CTF offers are so important,” Atkins says. “I’m thankful that I can play a role in helping others find hope and healing.”