Although record numbers of women and children are being housed there, the situation is more acute because many volunteers have had to resign for health reasons, to care for spouses, or other changes in their lives.
Executive director Kay Card said that of the three types of volunteers needed, ìwe are very low in every area right now, especially our shelter volunteers. We lost the core of our volunteers.î
Those are the ones who may staff the front desk and help with office work, to those who lend a listening ear to shelter residents, who are going through what is at best a very traumatic period in their lives.
At the shelter, volunteers are needed around the clock, as the facility never closes. Itís no telling when a mother and her children may have to be admitted.
ìAll volunteers have to pass a background check, and also receive 24 hours of training before they ever do anything in the shelter, without shadowing,î Card said.
ìThey donít need to feel nervous, or that itís a challenging thing to do,î she said. ìOur volunteers really enjoy it, feel like itís worthwhile.î
Volunteers can donate as much or as little time as they desire, from four hours one shift a week to a similar shift once a month, or whatever they can do, Card said.
ìBoth the Democratic and Republican conventions had a huge push for service, to give back, what can you do for your towns, neighborhoods, the places we live and work,î she said.
ìThat is great that so many people are being made aware of needs of others in their own communities,î Card said. ìI think coming here, giving a few hours, makes you aware of the blessings you have, the gratitude you might feel.
ìAs a volunteer you can play such an important role for those who are seeking help, who may need a listening ear, a pat on the back, a kindness shown to them,î the director said. ìEverybody is very, very busy. Thatís why we keep shifts very minimal. Volunteers can work early in the morning, late at night, there are shifts available anytime.
ìSometimes our staff gets so busy with the nuts and bolts, our volunteers often have more time to lend encouragement, to visit, support with our clients. That is such an important part of what we do,î she said.
Having a loyal, large cadre of volunteers also helps as the non-profit agency seeks grant funding, needed to operate many of its programs.
ìIt makes it so much easier when we can get a grant and say we have 5,000 hours of community service. It really trickles down, to go to those different resources.î
Volunteers are also needed for the Community Response Team, which assists law enforcement, giving women necessary resources at critical times, such as in rape situations. The Domestic Violence Team explains services, rights, and accompanies women to the shelter, also assists in obtaining protective orders.
For more information, call 444-3191 and ask for Volunteer Coordinator Jill Ramage.