Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Decided To Help

By Megan S. Willman

These girls all decided to help at the Center for Women and Families.

I’ve been fortunate in my life, and most of the time I remember to be grateful for that. I’ve even dedicated a good bit of time volunteering to help others, but in the spring of this year, I felt a true compulsion to give back to our community more directly. But where? I’ve always considered myself an educator, although I left the classroom years ago. I’m a feminist, and more than that, a humanist, and I had heard great things about The Center for Women and Families, which provides services for victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault.

Let me tell you a little about what I found…

I signed up for the volunteer training program at The Center in May 2015 because I wanted to find a way to lend my support for victims in our area. As I suppose is the case when anyone becomes a volunteer, I received more than I ever expected. The weekly training sessions blew my expectations away. I learned not only about the broad impact of abuse and sexual violence in our own community but also about the incredible steps The Center takes to make a difference one day and one client at a time.

Did you know that an estimated 12 million people are victims of stalking, rape, and/or physical violence by an intimate partner each year? That figure includes 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men. The Center for Women and Families serves women, men, and children in Louisville and Southern Indiana by providing safety, support, empowerment, and resources so that  victims can work to become survivors. Every person deserves a safe place to call home.

Trained advocates (volunteers) can work in a variety of supporting roles around The Center’s main campus on Second Street in Louisville as well as the other locations in surrounding Kentucky and Indiana counties. A volunteer can:
  • Work in the kitchen serving meals to clients
  • Connect with children by leading activities, reading books, offering study help, etc.
  • Serve as a Hospital Advocate offering support to clients in the hospital
  • Serve as a Legal Advocate offering support to clients in court
  • Provide administrative help with The Center’s many events and activities
  • Serve on one of many program committees dedicated to helping survivors
  • Host a table at a community event to help spread awareness

The Center considers each advocate’s interests and helps him/her find the best place to serve. In only a few short months, I have been welcomed into the heart of an organization that is making a real difference in our community.

What I truly didn’t expect is the difference it has made for me. Not only have I learned about the comprehensive services The Center provides for so many in our area, but I have seen firsthand the dedication and passion of the staff members. The Second Street campus recently reopened after storm damage closed its doors for 18 months. At the Lemons to Lemonade Block Party held in July to celebrate the Center’s re-opening, we asked, “What does home mean to you?” Many heartfelt responses were recorded. I had hoped to help others when I came to The Center. What I never expected was that I too would find a place that I can call home.

Volunteers are always needed. Sign up online or contact Loren Hill.

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