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Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Athena Hughes

24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 208.343.7025 24-hour Rape Crisis Hotline: 208.345.7273 (RAPE)

Athena H. - JVTaking Flight: What do you do in your volunteer role at the WCA?

Athena:  As a Jesuit Volunteer (JV), I am serving full time at the WCA for one year. I plan events including the Clothesline Project and the PSA contest, staff the information table at outreach events like the BSU Health Fair, help the Communications Manager to maintain our website and social media pages, and contribute to the blog and monthly newsletter. I also developed a new strategy for materials at different types of outreach events and a training session for outreach volunteers who staff these events.

TF:  How long have you been a volunteer?

A:  I’ve been here since August of last year.

TF:  What do you find most rewarding about your work at the WCA?

A:  I’m grateful to be at an organization with such dedicated people. I deeply appreciate that the WCA provides a range of services, from immediate assistance to people in crisis to supporting them throughout the long healing process, as well as working toward a healthier community through education. At outreach events I get to meet a lot of people and talk to them about what we do as well as the issues and dynamics around domestic abuse, sexual assault, and healthy relationships. The enthusiastic responses I get from the people I meet, from former residents to Ambassadors to people who had never heard of us before that conversation, really speak to the value of the work the WCA does. Working on the PSA contest has been especially rewarding. It’s been an interesting experience to get to talk to students about the dynamics of unhealthy and abusive relationships as well as what healthy, respectful relationships look like. Meeting so many students who are really engaged in trying to make a difference in their own lives, their friends’ lives, and their community, not to mention just seeing how much more information about these issues is out there for students than when I was in high school, has been very encouraging.

TF:  How have you changed or grown as a person through your work here?

A:  I’ve learned so much since I came to the WCA. I believe in the importance of empowering survivors of violence and abuse and in changing cultural attitudes toward survivors, and the opportunity to learn and exercise those beliefs in such a supportive and dynamic atmosphere has been truly inspiring. I have some wonderful role models here. I think I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the complex challenges that domestic and sexual abuse survivors face in so many areas of their experience, as well as the best ways to foster healing and freedom for the long term. I’m planning to continue working and serving in community organizations for some time to come, and I look forward to bringing what I’ve learned and seen wherever I go.

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