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On Helping the Vulnerable | Q&A with World Changer Carolyn Quatier

 

As you’ve heard, last month we launched our inaugural World Changer Quest in which we set out on a hunt for sisters you know who are acting as world changers right where they are. We asked for your nominations, and you did not disappoint! Thank you for not keeping these sisters to yourselves but sharing with us the names of those women you’ve watched take that next step, who’ve done that hard thing in order to be a world changer for good.

We call it our great privilege to today introduce to you another of these World Changers, Carolyn Quatier, who has helped launch several organizations to benefit vulnerable women and children in the Pacific Northwest. We asked her to join us for some friendly Q&A. Here’s what she had to say about the organizations she has a hand in. 

Welcome, Carolyn, and thank you for joining us on the blog! First tell us a bit about you: your family, where you live, what you enjoy, and what fills your days.

Thank you so much for your interest in our work. My husband Dan and I make our home in an old Dutch Colonial in Seattle, Washington. We have four adult children, two silly dogs, and one feisty calico kitty. Together we own Interior Technology, a company that serves the commercial construction industry with fire, light, safety and sound products. Dan is for-profit, and I am non-profit. It is a great combo.

You’ve had a hand in starting three organizations—Northwest Children’s Outreach, Door to Grace, and Simple & Just—all of which benefit women and children made vulnerable by poverty, chaos, or trauma. Please share a bit about each of these and what they mean to you. 

I am passionate about building pathways for ordinary people to engage in helping the vulnerable. Northwest Children’s Outreach came to life after I had read an article about poverty and the impact it has upon children. My protective bubble was burst, and I knew I had to do something. NCO provides basic resources to children like clothing, shoes, baby supplies, toys and books to children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves without the basic necessities of life. In 16 years, we have given away over $25 million dollars of these basic supplies to children. One of my favorite things about NCO is that one person’s over- abundance is directed to the need of another without cost, with an all- volunteer staff.

Once I my eyes were opened to the poverty of children in our community, God chose to expand my view. A trip to Thailand to help an organization that worked to protect children from traffickers exposed me to how pervasive the problem is worldwide. I knew then I wanted to do what I could to help these child survivors in our own Portland, Oregon. Door to Grace was born out of prayer and a need in our city. We provide aftercare for girls 14-17 who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. It looks like volunteer mentoring and coaching, support in next steps with education, internships with trauma-informed coaches, and a beautiful day-home with safe community and a homey atmosphere. As a part of this, favorite moments for me include watching our grace girls as they receive their StrengthFinders assessment. Usually they beam from ear to ear as they recognize their strengths. Sometimes for the first time.

Simple & Just came out of a need to help provide sustainable funding for these organizations, as well as to build a broader pathway for those who despair over what is happening to our children but don’t know what they can do. Our curated, better-brand resale shop is a community favorite. We sell what has been given to us with 100% of the profits going to organizations who are providing care to survivors of exploitation. Seeing our community bring in their treasured and beautiful items to donate is a heart-warmer for sure. We are located in darling Queen Anne, Seattle, right on Queen Anne Avenue, which provides us with great visibility and charm. In our first year we accomplished our initial fundraising goals while enjoying the generous, loving hearts of those in our city who shop, volunteer, and donate. It’s a win, win, win.

World Changer Carolyn Quatier on how helping vulnerable women and children is a win, win, win.… Click To Tweet

Here at the Sisterhood, we like to view opportunities as doors God opens for us. Will you share a story or two about the ways you’ve seen lives changed because of the open doors you’ve walked through?

I remember a particular story about a four-year-old girl. Her caseworker ordered a clothing bag for her from NCO, which I got to pack. Among the available clothing was a fluffy dress — not terribly practical, but I prayed and thought, “It’s going in.” The next time I saw the caseworker, she described the opening of the bag. This little one grabbed the fluffy dress, put it on right in the caseworker’s office and squealed and twirled while her mama and caseworker had tears rolling down their cheeks.

With Door to Grace, the training we undergo makes us aware of the impact of trauma in our own lives and in our grace girls. Our hearts and hands are gentler and less impatient for results when we prayerfully watch a survivor heal and blossom despite unimaginable trauma. The work is slow and sometimes there’s regression, but we are here for the girls to return to without shame or blame when she makes the right choice to come back.

In an age of eBay and consignment shops, it is encouraging to see people give so freely. Everyone smiles in our shop because it is just so GOOD, all the way around. As our business neighbor said when she looked across the street at our little shop, “Everything is beautiful over there.” That is the power of Christ.

But open doors rarely come without obstacles. How have you overcome the obstacles in your way?

Yes, obstacles are real. There is a battle going on in the heavenlies, and it is against good. Evil is palpable and scary at times. Human beings are messy, and sometimes we get in our own way. Board work can be tedious and not always fun. Sometimes we lose sight of the mission God has given us and sometimes we want our own way and not God’s way. We know that we have a target on our backs because we are deep in enemy territory, and it is wearying for even the strongest among us. Without consistent prayer and faithful practice of spiritual disciplines, we would never be strong enough.

How do you keep your ear attuned to God’s call on your life, and how would you encourage other women to do the same?

I start each day in prayer, meditation, and journaling. I bring all of my thoughts and concerns to the greatest Creator of all. I write down EVERYTHING and give it all to Him to sort through and lead. I try to keep a healthy amount of margin in my life so that I can be present for situations that arise needing my care. I keep track of answers to my heart’s cry and this continually builds my faith. I have the BEST friends who listen to my “blue sky dreaming,” and they pray along with me for the miraculous: doors opening and permission granted to grow and create more life-giving pathways.

What’s next for you?

Simple & Just is expanding, adding one store in Portland, Oregon, plus a Home shop here in Queen Anne. We have survivor interns who participate to learn job skills with coaches provided by Door to Grace, and these new shops will bring more opportunity with internships, and, of course, sustainable funding.

Dan and I are slowly restoring our old house. Bringing back original beauty is a theme in my life, and old houses are a wonderful picture of that.

I love writing, and maybe one day I will find that special writing project designed just for me. Meanwhile, it is the privilege and joy of my life to help people become acquainted with their original design and help in any way I can to see them flourish.

Thank you, Carolyn! It’s been our joy to feature your story here today. 

To learn more about these organizations, visit them online at:
Northwest Children’s Outreach | Door to Grace | Simple & Just
You can also find them on Instagram: @doortograce | @doortograceseattle | @simpleandjust

 

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