Women in Safe Homes is looking for volunteers. The organization, which was established in the late 1970’s, provides safe shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Diane Gubatayo is the Director of Development and Community Services.
“We have about 32 beds in the shelter, and we provide, within the shelter, all the meals and the support services, legal advocacy, personal counseling services, safety planning – all kinds of support for the people who are living there temporarily – until they find a safe place to be and to live their lives.”
In addition to providing shelter services, WISH also runs a 24-hour national crisis line. Gubatayo says WISH is recruiting volunteers to help staff the line.
“The reason we’re recruiting is because we only have one advocate on duty each shift and we run 24/7. So it’s a lot of pressure on one person to meet the needs of our residents when the shelter is full, all the children and women, and they are in trauma and crisis. At the same time they are covering the crisis line when those random calls come in, and serving the needs of those people too. We decided that we really would like to train a core group of people who are really committed to helping out with that and working within the shelter. Relieving a little stress on the advocates so they can meets the needs of the families better.”
Gubatayo says the training is not too intense, but provides volunteers with the information they need to handle the calls that come in. She says a 3 day training session begins next week.
“Anyone who is willing to step up and is interested could participate in that training and learn a lot. All the latest information.”
Gubatayo says there is no minimum time commitment, but ideally they hope to find people willing to commit to a few hours a week. She says even a few hours a month would be helpful. Gubatayo says there are a few requirements, however.
“People who volunteer need to pass a background check because they will be within the shelter and they need to understand the confidentiality issues and things like that. Really it’s just a desire to be a help to people and to be a good listener and to learn how to redirect people. If someone calls you and it’s an emergency situation, they will be trained to know how to connect them with the right resources, wherever they may be.”
If anyone is interested in becoming a crisis line volunteer or wants more information about what becoming a volunteer entails, you can call Women in Safe Homes at 225-9474.