COE student advising team makes holiday donation to UNT alumna’s charity

Staff members from the UNT College of Education Student Advising Office with Sarah Nejdl (far left in purple).

Staff members in the UNT College of Education's Student Advising Office celebrated the holiday season by collecting travel products, basic clothes, travel bags, snacks, baby items and more for Families to Freedom, a nonprofit organization that provides free long-distance transportation to survivors of domestic violence.

The charity, founded by UNT alumna and pilot Sarah Nejdl, began operations in January 2015 when Nejdl noticed a gap in services for women and children leaving domestic violence situations. Families to Freedom offers clients one-way transportation by private aircraft or car to relatives or friends who are able to take them in or to a shelter that can accommodate them, putting distance between the clients and their abuser.

The SAO staff welcomed Nejdl to campus for a luncheon Dec. 17 to learn more about her charity and to hand over their sizable donation of items that Families to Freedom clients might need in an emergency situation.

Gwenn Pasco, assistant dean for educator certification and undergraduate academic services, said the SAO team traditionally brings in toys for underprivileged children every holiday season. But this year, the group decided they wanted to support two different charities. After discussing their options, they decided on Families to Freedom, only to later discover the founder's UNT connection, Pasco said.

"The staff in my department, a group of uniquely kind and dedicated individuals, and I are happy to support one of UNT's own and the incredible work her charity does," Pasco said. "As Families to Freedom is a newer non-profit, we realized that they could benefit from donations that the entire team wanted to provide. 

"UNT has always been known as a welcoming and generous place, and I think that's largely due to our caring faculty, staff, students and alumni."

Click here to learn more about Families to Freedom.