It started with a desire to help others with few options.
The journey to finding a new purpose in life for me started years before I made the decision to start Families to Freedom. Being a new single-engine airplane pilot, I wanted to use my aviation skills in my spare time for charity. My online research turned up charities that transport sick children, veterans and pets. While these are all noble causes, they didn't resonate with me. I had already settled with a job that led me to unhappiness- why do that again? After some soul searching, reflection and inundation with Domestic Violence Awareness Month (that's in October), I knew in my heart that I wanted to help victims of domestic violence get away from abusive relationships through car rides and flights to far away family or shelter. I held this idea for more than a year as I trained to become an instrument rated pilot. After I got that rating and felt more confident to conduct safe flights, I was ready to find that organization that worked with domestic violence victims.
Except, I was unable to find a single local charity that did this.
The closest charity that offered humanitarian flights was not interested in getting involved in domestic violence flights. Not to worry, I thought, I'll just do this on my own. It was around this time that I got a call from someone with the FAA surveying me about my recent instrument exam. At one point, he asked my intentions for using the rating. I said I wanted to put myself out to area women's shelters in case anyone needed a flight to another city. I was told that, per FAA regulations, I couldn't do that unless I was doing so on behalf of an organization. Well, I already knew there was no organization. It didn't take long for me to decide that this was something I needed to do. I felt that if I did not stand up to do something that nobody else would do, the idea would die and the people who would have benefited would continue to be stuck. I did research to confirm there was a need (yes there is!), I rallied colleagues, neighbors and friends to help me with the formation, then began the process of building Families to Freedom. What began as an idea to simply volunteer a little time on the side morphed into a sense of ownership, purpose and duty. The idea of directly saving a life and making an impact that can last for generations in a family is my reason to persevere.
Please join me in my passion to help deliver families to freedom!
Sarah Nejdl, Founder of Families to Freedom