Recently we finished a chapter with a valued member of our team Danielle Swerin, MA, as the grant funding for her position came to a close. Even though the New Year usually focuses on looking forward, we wanted to take a moment to look back, and to celebrate all that Danielle has contributed to the WCA in her various roles here-starting as a volunteer and finishing as a staff member, research analyst, lecturer, editor and published author.
Danielle started at the WCA as a volunteer helping with special projects and moved into several different positions as a volunteer for several years. Until, that is, we were able to hire her as the Domestic Violence Case Manager for the Ada County Domestic Violence Court (DVC). DVC is one of three mentor courts around the country; these are courts that are considered to be models for other specialized domestic violence court. In this role Danielle offered a personal connection and specialized resources for victims navigating the landscape of victim services. “Can my child see a counselor this week?” “Can I talk with an attorney right after we meet, because I don’t have much gas?” “Where can I find food for us for the next few weeks?” These are the questions that Danielle answered with victims, be it in court or at FACES of Hope Victim Center. She worked with Victim Witness Coordinators, counselors, Judges and other community service providers to ensure that victims could find the resources they were looking for as quickly and as conveniently as possible.
It is hard to overstate the transformational capacity of being believed, respected, and treated with kindness and autonomy, especially when coupled with the ability to provide real resources in real time. Danielle did all of these things. And while Danielle has great empathy and acumen in working with victims experiencing trauma, she also brought her analytical skills honed through her Masters in Criminal Justice when she created the reporting template for DVC, combining high level data collection with victim confidentiality. Further evidence of her thoughtfulness and compassion are evident in the employee survey that Danielle proposed and then implemented: a comprehensive assessment of WCA staff working environments that can be used in the coming year to continue to strengthen the supports the agency offers to individuals like Danielle. Those who do life-affirming work consistently, quietly, and with compassion for others.
Danielle has been inspiring to us in her work at the WCA, but this is only part of her inspiring list of abilities. She brought her skills to Idaho State Police as a Research Analyst, she works as full-time Lecturer for Boise State University, has been an adjunct professor for BSU and CWI, she co-edited a textbook, and also co-wrote several chapters in the textbook. And she still finds time to ski, water-ski, root for the Seahawks and prioritize spending time with her family.
Danielle is a bright light in the Boise community. She will be greatly missed as a colleague but valued and celebrated as a volunteer! Danielle’s mark on the WCA and our community is a brilliant example of What Compassion Accomplishes; love in action, every day.
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