Chrystal Juliana of Spring Hill is Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for December. Operation Christmas Child, The People’s Church, The Rescue Mission, GraceWorks, The Well, Feed My Starving Children, and The Salvation Army are “just a few” places where she volunteers.
Her choices of where she volunteers reflect her priorities. “For me personally, I have always felt that God has led me in the direction to volunteer. On more than one occasion, he has shown me that one purpose in his plan for my life is to love and care for those less fortunate or for those who cannot take care of themselves. …I also want to be an example to my children and show them that we need to think about others before ourselves. God gave them a nurturing heart, and it is my job to make sure they use it for His glory,” she says.
Chrystal volunteers as a year-round Collection Center Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child as well as the Liaison between Operation Christmas Child and The People’s Church in Franklin, TN. To carry out her goals, she “partner(s) with local churches and community groups to help bring awareness and educate them on the Operation Christmas Child mission while providing them opportunities to” pack empty shoeboxes with gifts of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and notes of encouragement. The boxes are then gifted to needy children around the world.
Chrystal is one of 100,000 volunteers in the United States and 500,000 globally involved in this annual undertaking. Their efforts have collected and distributed over 113 million shoeboxes to children in 150 countries since 1993. When Chrystal was asked what she has learned through her local volunteering in this global venture, she says, “I have learned so much from volunteering, but the main thing that has surprised me and others is just how far I am willing to go outside of my comfort zone. Being stretched can be a scary thing, but I have learned that if I am quiet and listen…then I stay calm, don’t worry, and process things much easier than before.”