“Caring for ourselves can—and should—be done together.” – Shelly Tygielski
I am currently reading Sit Down to Rise Up by Shelly Tygielski, and it has been such an eye-opening experience. In this book, she talks about this idea of communities of care—a group of people coming together asking what can you do for me AND what can I do for you?
For example, I’m writing this article, but before it gets to you, it’s edited by someone, put into a newsletter by another person and put on our website by a number of other people. After you read it, you too can play a part in the process by spreading this information to your community.
Our number one priority is confidentiality, which, at times, can make it difficult for volunteers to feel like they are directly involved in helping victims and survivors during their journey to safety, healing and freedom from domestic abuse and sexual assault. However, truly, any support that volunteers provide is impactful. You may think, “why do I want to rake leaves—I’m not doing much,” but actually you are making a difference in the appearance of our building and creating a comfortable and clean environment for clients when they come to appointments at the WCA. Or maybe you’re thinking, “organizing a storage space doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything to really help,” but this allows staff to seamlessly get items to complete tasks efficiently. What we learned from 2020 is that volunteers can help us in so many other ways that speak volumes in regards to how we can continue to provide the help that is needed for our clients.
This idea of communities of care truly encapsulates how a volunteer program works. Many hands are needed to help make a place successful. Everyone involved in our volunteer program is here to give back; you give your time, efforts and donations to help the WCA continue to provide free services to our clients. Without our wonderful volunteers, we would not be able to do the work we do in our community. One of the questions we ask in all of our volunteer interviews is “what kind of support do you need to feel fulfilled while you volunteer with us?” You are MY community of care – you help me and all of my WCA coworkers do the important work we do – and we want to be sure that we are providing the same respect and help to you that you give to us.