My Dream Job: Human Trafficking Survivor Story

Melanie Dillon, Freedom employee and human trafficking survivor shares her story about overcoming challenges, joining Freedom, and her dreams for the future.

My Dream Job
Melanie Dillon 

My idea of my dream job would be pursuing my passion for cooking. Helping, supporting, and guiding other addicts and alcoholics with getting clean and staying clean. Working for a company who stands for a purpose or cause that has a lot of meaning for me. Giving back to my community. The independence and ability to create beautiful things and share them with people. And finally, just knowing that I’m making a difference in people’s lives. You’re probably wondering how all of these characteristics could be grouped into one job.

It took a long time for me to decide what my dream was. I am a former addict and alcoholic with two years of sobriety, and if it weren’t for all the horrible and disturbing things that have happened in my past, I don’t think I would have come to know about such an amazing and rewarding opportunity that inspired this dream. It’s only because of this past and a little bit of hope and faith that I stumbled on to this amazing organization that truly changed my life and gave me a second chance. I knew the moment I walked in the door that I had found something special and I wanted more. I was a lost and broken soul who didn’t know anything about myself but was given all I put in and 100 times more.

I started from the bottom of this organization – cleaning and organizing, then being given a few more responsibilities at a time. Cooking was added. I was good at it. Then I began to remember my childhood, when cooking was my favorite thing to do with my grandmother – and suddenly I was genuinely happy. I found a place in myself that I had never had. Peace and serenity, where I’m in control, where I’m finally good enough, no anxiety, I found that this makes people happy and brings people together in a way that I was not used to seeing. People looked at me differently and most of all, I looked at myself differently. I made people smile, laugh, and enjoy life on a level I hadn’t experienced since those Sunday dinners with my whole family at my grandmother’s. Little by little, I was taught new things and techniques, which gave me more confidence in myself then I could ever have imagined.

They actually gave me a job, so I was no longer just a volunteer. Within six months of very hard work and dedication to this amazing place, I became a manager. This is only the beginning. My journey will not end here. This has actually given me the inspiration to want so much more for myself. This nonprofit organization which originally started to help with a cause that could change the world is now my destiny. After school, a lot of hard work, dedication, and guidance my dream is to one day become the executive chef of Freedom a La Cart. The role of executive chef of this amazing organization is all those characteristics I’m looking for and more. The rewarding future is what a dream job is all about.

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  • Stephanie l Rollins December 15, 2015   Reply →

    Wow. I am so blessed to have been able to experience all the emotions discovered while getting clean, and learning how to live agian. It’s been truely an honor being apart of all these ladies lives. Each and everyone of you gave me inspiration to want to better myself and to give back. I’m so thankful to have you all in my life. Merry chrismas girls. I so love you all!!!!

  • angie December 15, 2015   Reply →

    Melanie, you are amazing. What you have been through and survived is something most of us couldnt even imagine. You deserve all these opportunities, you worked. Hard for them. Thank you for never giving up on yourself. I love you

  • Tara December 16, 2015   Reply →

    I don’t know you but I’m so proud of you! And so grateful for Freedom a la Cart! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!

  • Anita December 17, 2015   Reply →

    Amazing woman, may God continue to bless you!
    2 Corinthians 1:3-7New International Version (NIV)

    Praise to the God of All Comfort
    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

  • Tawnya Dunaway January 15, 2016   Reply →

    I to am so very blessed to be a survivor and part of the team at Freedom a la cart. I cannot put into words what being here has done for me!!!

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