This month, we are spotlighting two of our wonderful thrift store volunteers, Michele and Julia Porter. This mother-daughter duo volunteers weekly at our Shop and at several other WCA special events, including City Santa this year. We are extremely grateful for Michele and Julia, and the important conversations that volunteering at the WCA has created between them.
How did you get involved with the WCA?
Michele: For years I have been donating to the WCA through the Combined Federal Campaign program (a way for federal employees to donate a portion of their salary directly to charitable organizations). Then, I got to attend a couple “If These Walls Could Talk” presentations which clued me in on opportunities to volunteer. Now that Julia is older, I have more free time to start volunteering. She and I volunteer together at the The Shop on Saturdays and at other evening and weekend WCA events.
Julia: My mom asked me, “Hey? You want to go volunteer?” and I said yeah. Pretty boring, sorry on my part.
What are your hopes for the future of the WCA?
Michele: It would be nice if the WCA didn’t need to exist, but it does. So, I hope that the WCA is able to stay funded to continue providing education, hotlines, support, and shelter to those who are in abusive situations. I hope that the WCA is able to expand their shelter facilities. I hope that the WCA’s message will reach teenagers as early education could help empower them to avoid, recognize, and leave bad relationships in the future. I also hope that The Shop somehow gets bigger or a second location to show off all the amazing treasures waiting to be seen!
Julia: Whenever I tell people I volunteer for WCA, they never know what it is. I feel like the people who had been affected by it know and cherish the work they do. I wish more people learn what it is, and how they can help. Even just getting the shop more public would be awesome! Genuinely, I can’t go in without coming out with something. It’s the best thrift store I’ve been to! [Michele: We are indeed thrift store connoisseurs.]
What motivated you to volunteer together as mother and daughter?
Michele: It’s important to me that Julia gets out and helps the community. She and I have volunteered together at the Humane Society and at an assisted living facility as well. One thing I like about volunteering at the WCA is that she is getting exposure to the dialog about healthy (and unhealthy) relationships and compassion for those who find themselves in abusive situations.
Julia: I can’t drive. But also my mom’s an awesome person who keeps giving me opportunities to do awesome stuff for the community. I’m glad she allows me to come with her.
What keeps you coming back to the WCA and continuing to stay engaged?
Michele: I simply believe in the WCA’s mission, and the staff and volunteers are great. When I retire I’ll be lurking around, helping out during the weekdays, I promise.
Julia: The WCA is the best of both worlds. It’s a service that honestly saves lives and puts every cent they make into making the world a better place and it’s a really fun place to volunteer for! The effort all of the other committed people have to this cause and the constant new and interesting things to do keeps me engaged.
What words or advice do you have for clients who are seeking our services at this time?
Michele: Take care of yourself. Life is too short to endure an abusive situation. The professionals at the WCA, and the community, are ready to help you.
Julia: There are people out there that will help you! It may seem at times that you’re alone, but I promise you, you’re not. Do what’s best for you, even if that means closing a difficult chapter in your life. ♥
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