A little over three years ago I wrote a letter outlining the characteristics we needed in someone to lead PTM’s volunteer recruitment, training, and retention. Key gifts included: versatility, creativity, communication, relationship-builder, balance of being people-oriented and task-oriented, and confident hard-worker. Martha Willis became PTM’s first Volunteer Coordinator and has been the perfect blend of those gifts and then some. Sadly and joyfully, I write to share with you of Martha’s decision to leave PTM in order to devote her freshest energy and creativity to being a wife and mother.
I am sad because Martha has meant so much to PTM. She has embodied PTM’s mission by being a joy-filled friendship facilitator. She has strengthened PTM’s communication through website, social media, volunteer emails, and newsletters. She has created and added to great traditions like the Giving Thanks Dinner, Soup and Stories, Dad’s Lunch, Overcomer’s Lunch, PTM Open House, and Pickin’ and Grinnin’ at the Pantry. She has been a strategic planner. She has mentored young volunteers. More than a handful of our high school volunteers and interns have expressed in one way or another, “when I grow up I want to be like Martha.” She has been instrumental in developing work study students, the LEAP Year program, and summer interns. She is “famous” for long (often tearful) coffee meetings with new volunteers—meetings that lead to new friendships, and new deeply committed PTM volunteers. She has led to a volunteer staff of over 250 weekly volunteers. Also, she has played an incredibly important role of building a culture of joy and laughter among our staff. In all of these ways, Martha has made PTM better.
I am joyful because in leaving PTM Martha continues to live out PTM’s mission of “pursuing God-inspired dreams.” Martha recognizes God’s calling on her life to devote her full-time energy to building a family. As she has prepared to leave, she has been thoughtful and strategic about preparing PTM staff to continue building on traditions and the PTM culture that Martha has nurtured. She is leaving well.
Martha’s last day at PTM will be September 30th. Many of you, like me, have been deeply impacted by Martha. If you would like to be a part of a farewell gift to Martha, we are collecting money to help Martha and Kyle prepare for the arrival of their son and this new season of life. Monetary gifts can be mailed to:
477 Saddle Drive
Nashville, TN 37221
Please make checks payable to Donna for her to consolidate and present as a gift to Martha with a card listing each giver.
Please see below for a letter from Martha. Thanks for being one who believes in the mission of PTM and for sharing in God’s call to serve those in this community.
It’s with a heart overflowing with gratitude, affection, and so much joy that I reflect on my time at PTM. I can vividly remember the day I came across Chan’s Letter to PTM’s Future Volunteer Coordinator and, with teary eyes, I was so certain that this was where the Lord was leading me next. Since stepping on staff about a month later in July of 2012, I’ve felt affirmed in that calling over and over again and I am so thankful for those who, from the beginning, trusted me to fill the role.
It’s no surprise to most that my favorite part about PTM is the relationships (the “joy-filled friendships”) that I believe make up the heart of PTM, and I consider it a crazy, generous gift that my role at PTM has revolved much around getting to foster and invest in those relationships. From getting to be a voice in pockets of the city and share with others about PTM — to engaging with and learning from you all, PTM’s stakeholders, who consistently show up to give yourselves in service — to living and working in daily community with the incredible team of staff — to chasing Jakayla around the playground and dominating (always losing to) Curtis’s team in Capture the Flag…all of these opportunities and so many more have made PTM a place of growth, healing, challenge, and immense joy for me.
It is definitely bittersweet to see this chapter come to a close, and I will so miss being a part of the day-to-day at PTM. However, it is also with much anticipation and gratitude that Kyle and I look toward the new season ahead of growing our family and welcoming baby boy Willis in just a short handful of weeks. God has been so faithful to lead by His Spirit and calm our hearts with His peace, and we continue to be amazed by the overwhelming love and support we have already received.
I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have served alongside each of you in some way or another, and I look forward to our paths continuing to cross through our involvement in the PTM family.
With much love,