Our last and final shout-out for this month’s Women’s Empowerment Week is a special one, because it’s someone from our own team. Aeriel White, Executive Director of Still Standing, was chosen by the team as a surprise. Here’s what two of the leaders had to say about her:
“I chose to end my week with Aeriel as my fourth and final pick. I knew I always wanted to help women, but when I went to the display that Still Standing had on Sibley Day, she really inspired me to go out and start getting involved. I started to educate myself more, came up with plans and goals I wanted to achieve, and all of this was because of her. Her caring demeanor was all that it took. Because of her, sexual assault survivors can feel love, they can feel empowered.” ~Brittany Estes, Social Media Director
“The reason I chose Aeriel for Women’s Empowerment Week is for the same reason I fell in love with her. From day one Aeriel showed such a strong passion for others compared to herself. She was, and is, extremely selfless. But more specifically, Aeriel began to tell me about her participation with her awareness campaign, Still Standing. As she told me about her past and told me the things she’s done for herself and others and the things she wants to do with Still Standing, I just couldn’t help but be amazed at how strong she was. Now, today, seeing how far my wife has gone and where she’s going, I know she is the strongest and most selfless woman I know.” ~Roy White, Web Developer
To be consistent with the rest of the picks this week we asked Aeriel the same four questions as our other picks. Check out her answers:
1.) What is your current occupation and/or any recent volunteer work, advocacy groups, you’re involved in or support?
I am currently doing a lot of things! I am the creator and Executive Director of Still Standing (we are all volunteers), a volunteer advisory board member for Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, a full-time caretaker to my grandparents, and a full-time student seeking my Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration. I am also four months into my marriage, and 1 day into my life as a pet parent with my husband!
2.) What is the most rewarding part of your career/volunteer work?
Helping/serving people. Helping people, I feel, is the purpose for my existence. There’s nothing like it in the world to me to know that someone else’s life has been made better, even if only for a brief moment. Sexual assault survivors hold a special place in my heart, though, because I am one.
3.) What inspired you to follow through with your volunteer/career choices?
I can’t think of many people who haven’t. A great number of my friends and professors kept encouraging me when Still Standing was coming together – especially when it faltered for a brief moment. Each and every single one of the original survivors who shared their stories certainly inspired me to follow through on Still Standing. They had the courage to share their stories – to relive them – and I wasn’t going to not let them be celebrated the way we intended. Former Lindenwood professor Jennifer Lorentz undoubtedly inspired me. Still Standing was her idea and she picked me to help her make it a reality. Dr. Carla Mueller is part of the reason Still Standing made it to its debut. Without her willingness to take it on as the faculty adviser, her expertise, and her encouragement Still Standing would not exist. All of my Criminal Justice professors deserve kudos. My husband deserves more than a few, too. So do all of the naysayers I’ve encountered. Every single one of them has pushed me harder to do what I know is right and what I’m passionate about.
4.) What is a quote you like or a word of wisdom you often impart?
I have so many favorite quotes, but one of my most recent is a quote by Madeleine Albright.
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”