Our staff spotlight for November is one of our Jesuit Volunteer/AmeriCorps Members, Olivia! She is serving as the Women’s and Children’s Alliance’s Prevention Coordinator for the year.
Olivia comes to us from Massachusetts where she grew up and attended the College of the Holy Cross as a Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Major. With a Navy ROTC background, her interest in Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault prevention budded while interning in DC and writing a thesis on the sexual harassment epidemic within the United States Military. Though the Navy was not the path for her, Olivia feels very lucky to have found the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and been placed with the Women’s and Children’s Alliance in Boise.
This is the second year that the WCA has had a Prevention Coordinator position. With a growing Prevention program, Olivia fills her days assisting with weekly healthy relationship groups, presenting on healthy relationships and teen dating violence, running the annual PSA Contest, and helping to manage our Youth REP program. Olivia loves that the prevention coordinator position allows her to expand upon her Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s studies education while interacting with the Treasure Valley youth.
“The honor of being welcomed into the Treasure Valley and trusted with the challenge of talking to teens about healthy relationships and teen dating violence is not one I take lightly. These past two months have taught me more than I could have ever imagined about youth education and the nuances of domestic violence and sexual assault.”
One of her biggest takeaways from her experience at the WCA so far has been in regards to the power of conversation. “I’ve learned the importance of talking about domestic violence and sexual assault and the difference it can make. There are many situations that I look back on where I wish I had the knowledge and vocabulary to speak up. Especially on college campuses and among young people there is a culture of normalized signs/symptoms of domestic violence. I’ve learned that by starting the conversation and drawing attention to those normalized characteristics we can create a counterculture of education and awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault.”
When asked if she had anything special she wanted to say, Olivia responded with “I’m grateful to the WCA not only for taking on a Jesuit Volunteer, but making this year of service an incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile experience so far. I am learning the true meaning of being a person for and with others from the WCA staff members that have taken the time to thoughtfully mentor me while I navigate this new field despite their own busy schedules. I look forward to seeing where this level of support and empowerment takes me by the end of my service year.”
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