By Talilah Douglas, Domestic Violence Specialist, GLIDE Women’s Center
The Women’s Center could not exist without volunteers. The Women’s Center is a huge success because of our volunteers and interns. We would not be able to do the work that we do without the many women who have lent us a helping hand. With a small staff, volunteers provide so much support to the Women’s Center. In the past fiscal year we had the opportunity to interact with over 25 volunteers and interns. We offer ourselves as teachers to each and everyone who helps, and we receive so much in return as well.
Women who have volunteered have expressed that the Women’s Center has changed their lives. Recently, GLIDE’s Co-Executive Director, Rita Shimmin, shared with me that a former volunteer contacted her simply to express the impact that the Women’s Center had on her. Our volunteers have been able to develop both personally and professionally. Some of our volunteers have been able to recognize and change abuse in their lives, creating behavior changes for themselves and their families. They have supported us with outreach, field-trips, celebrations, co-facilitation, and assisted with program visioning. It was actually a volunteer who came up with the idea of having a games and activities day (which became the therapeutic socialization portion of our program). Another volunteer saw a need and created a training manual for our future volunteers and interns. They encourage and support us to do the work that we do.
Just the other day a volunteer who has moved on came by to visit us. We missed each other, but she left a note for me and Zwazzi that reminded me of not only how they help us but how much they add to our lives and the lives of the women we serve. Our volunteers and interns are encouraged to leave an imprint on the Women’s Center and we have learned that we leave one in their lives. I’d like the share the note with you:
Dearest Zwazzi & Talilah,
I’m on spring break and dropped by to say hello but ya’ll seem to be out! I just wanted to write a quick note telling you both how much you mean to me and how encouraged and inspired I was after working here with you two this summer. Nothing could have prepared me for the love and joy (and challenge and heartache) that I encountered in this room. Thank you for being beautiful lights for the women in the TL and for me.