by Anonymous, A New VSC Volunteer and Aspiring SANE
When VSC asked me to write about why I volunteer and what brought me to volunteer at VSC, I thought, “wow, no one has ever asked me that!” I have to say, I found it both an easy and difficult question to answer. The difficult part of the answer involves sharing a bit about myself, which I don’t find easy to write about. But, to understand why I volunteer it is important for me to highlight some key individuals who influenced my path and eventually lead me to volunteer with VSC.
Just like many people, growing up in my home included being exposed to domestic violence. Honestly, when I was young, I really just thought these challenges were a part of everyone’s life. As I grew up though, I realized things were not as outsiders saw them, but I did not really understand the extent of these challenges. By high school, my homelife, schoolwork and other responsibilities felt overwhelming to manage. I was now aware that I was a part of covering up verbal and physical violence and putting on a façade for extended family and friends. I struggled with guilt over not protecting the family enough, threatened with physical repercussions if I was brave enough to defend my mother or siblings.
Luckily, an observant science teacher, who happened to volunteer with a local counseling center, noticed me struggling with dropping grades and isolation and identified a way to connect with me. He made sure to recognize my interest in science and encouraged me to share my thoughts with my peers in class. I finally felt like I had a voice. I had confidence in my opinion and felt safe. Eventually along with my guidance counselor and another teacher, I started to understand more about my homelife. Knowledge gave me power to understand and move ahead. This is where my volunteering began–starting with a peer group through the counseling center. There I learned about communication, feedback and how to talk to elementary students about topics such as empathy. I learned not only how to communicate with others, but also learned that caring for others involved taking care of yourself too. In the following years I became a nurse, wife and mother and have been blessed to be able to learn even more from caring for others. My next step in my journey is working towards becoming a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
Now for the simple answer to this question! I volunteer because others did it for me, it made a difference in my past and it makes me feel blessed that I have the ability to do so. I have confidence that all the persistence, empathy and vision that these individuals and many others had influenced who I am today. They gave me a chance, believed in me without hesitation or question. Trauma can shape a person’s world. It continues to shape mine. After meeting several people at VSC, I know that their vision and goals align with supporting the needs of victims of violence first and foremost. I want to be part of this dedicated group of individuals that provide support to survivors and victims so they can feel heard and believed. One of the greatest benefits of volunteering is working with people that believe in something you do. I truly believe VSC and I have that in common. Thank you!
How to Volunteer
If you’d like to be involved with VSC as a volunteer start by checking out the volunteer page here on our website. There you can see the steps you need to complete as well as get started by filling out an application.