Kellie Roberts, WCA Client Advocate
What do you do in your job at the WCA?
I assist clients in navigating local resources and helping to assess their current needs. I advocate for victims and by extension their families, by providing a listening ear, validating what they have gone through, sharing valuable information, and in general being a supportive and friendly face as they work through what is often a very difficult journey.
How long have you been with the WCA?
I am quite the newcomer; I have only been here a brief three and a half months
Where did you work prior to joining the WCA team?
I worked for several years as a child and adolescent treatment specialist in a residential mental health facility. At the same time I also held a position as a supervising coder with the Early Growth and Development Grant through the Oregon Social Learning Center. Following these two positions I had a brief stint working with osteopathic medical students. In that position, I greatly missed working directly with those in need, offering validation and support for those who lacked a strong support system. It has been a great pleasure to be working with such a wonderful group of people while doing such valuable and needed work.
What do you find most rewarding about your work at the WCA?
The biggest reward I have found so far in my position is the chance to put a “crack in the wall” of isolation and hopelessness that many of our clients are feeling. By offering a safe haven where clients feel heard and can ask questions, have their emotions validated and receive information, hopefully she can begin to experience even a little relief—that someone doesn’t think she is crazy, that someone believes her story, and doesn’t blame her for the abuse she has suffered. Through these minor interactions, my hope is that we are creating in our clients a sense of agency, allowing them to break free of the cycle they are caught in on their terms and in their time.
How have you changed or grown as a person through your work here?
I have grown to see domestic abuse and violence against women as a global epidemic versus an individual problem. The work that we do here, in which every staff member plays a vital role, touches the lives of women in our community, hopefully for the better. As we work to create a society where services like ours are not needed, we need to be aware of how each time we respond with compassion, respect and patience we are effecting positive change. Change that will hopefully alter what is the norm and what is acceptable. Each time we help stop the cycle of violence in an individual life, we are a step closer to changing the views of intimate partner violence on a grander scale.
Is there a memorable moment or story that you’d like to share that you have experienced at the WCA?
While working in the shelter one day I noticed a mom who was having a difficult time with her son, who on previous occasions I had observed losing her composure when he was acting out in an angry way. I watched as this mother calmly restated her expectation for her son, to which he yelled, “I hate you!” Without missing a beat the mom replied, “That’s ok; I love you anyways”. To see the transformation in this client over just a few short months was empowering. Working with the staff here, she had leanred valuable tools to assist her in not perpetuating the cycle of abuse. How to better care for her own emotional needs as well as her children. To have the opportunity to see a whole family work towards a transformation together is a true joy.
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