Advocate Safehouse Project helps victims of domestic violence | PostIndependent.com
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Advocate Safehouse Project helps victims of domestic violence

By Kay VasilakisApproximately 22 active volunteers consistently cover the Advocate Safehouse Project crisis line, speaking to women and families living in domestic violence situations. The organization likes to maintain 30 or more active volunteers, and is offering a spring training session to attract more volunteer advocates.Approximately 22 active volunteers consistently cover the Advocate Safehouse Project crisis line, speaking to women and families living in domestic violence situations. The organization likes to maintain 30 or more active volunteers, and is offering a spring training session to attract more volunteer advocates.The next training, totaling 30 hours, is at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday evenings from March 30 to April 28. One Saturday training is scheduled, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 16.A substantial amount of time is invested in training advocate volunteers to ensure they know what resources are available to all callers. The topics covered in training include the role of the advocate, dynamics of domestic violence, crisis intervention, listening skills, cultural issues, sexual assault, children and domestic violence, Advocate Safehouse Project policies and procedures, and community resource. They also spend time role-playing. Community professionals attend trainings to provide additional information. The initial 30-hour training allows advocates to interact with victims of domestic violence. They may also assist with any other programs, such as childcare or educational programs. Upon completion of the initial 30 hours of training, advocate volunteers are then eligible to participate in sexual assault crisis intervention team training. Advocates receive calls from an answering service and often provide crisis intervention, information and referral, advocacy, a listening ear or placement in the safehouse. They may also assist people living in the safehouse, or provide transportation or childcare. A staff person provides backup support for every volunteer. Ongoing monthly meetings help advocates with specific issues.Advocate volunteers work from home, and there is flexibility with what they can do. They are asked to be available to talk with callers, ensure callers are safe and have necessities. Advocates do not visit a caller’s home, but may meet a caller in a public location to talk or bring the caller to the safehouse. They then may complete the housing packet with the person and get the person settled into the house when necessary. Sometimes advocates attend court to support a client. The Advocate Safehouse Project works with a multitude of community resources, including the district attorney’s office, Alpine Legal Services, LIFT-UP, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and law enforcement.Last year, volunteer advocates gave the Advocate Safehouse Project 8,141 hours of service, valued at $97,692. “Volunteering with the Advocate Safehouse Project is a great way to help your community,” said program coordinator Julia Williams. More bilingual volunteers are needed, as well as volunteers to reach more people in the Parachute area. Those interested in attending the training may call her at 945-2632, ext. 104.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday. Kay is the media coordinator of the Garfield County Human Services Commission, and can be reached for news tips or questions at 945-8515, ext. 513 or kvasilakis@postindependent.com.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday. Kay is the media coordinator of the Garfield County Human Services Commission, and can be reached for news tips or questions at 945-8515, ext. 513 or kvasilakis@postindependent.com.


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