April 18–24, 2021 is National Volunteer Week and this year’s theme is The Value of One, the Power of Many. Volunteers are an integral part of Victoria Women’s Transition House and the work we do in support of women and children impacted by intimate partner violence and abuse.
While at various points during the pandemic some volunteers returned to assist in a limited and safe capacity, with the current COVID-19 guidelines, our Volunteer Program is on hold. In the meantime, VWTH stays connected with volunteers online and continues to accept new volunteer applications. To learn more, visit our Become A Volunteer page or email our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to the day we can gather again and welcome volunteers back to Transition House. Thank you, volunteers! Thank you also to essential staff like Marcia (read the interview below) for the training and mentorship they have given to VWTH volunteers over the years.
Since 1991, Marcia has been an integral part of the team of front-line workers, offering support to women and their children impacted by violence and abuse. Now preparing for retirement, Marcia shared some of her thoughts on her work at VWTH.
I was a women’s counsellor and part of the 24-hour Crisis Line team. I provided extensive training and guidance to the Crisis Line volunteers. A big part of our work was giving support and resources to women in crisis and taking them through a safety plan. I also mentored and supervised Social Work and Counselling and Nursing students at the Shelter.
Probably seeing people being able to heal and move on. It is quite inspiring how people can come from a bad situation and manage to rebuild and make their lives and their children’s
lives better. I feel very proud to have been part of helping people make those changes. It has also been rewarding as a Crisis Line volunteer coordinator to see volunteers blossom. In the beginning, many volunteers were nervous but as time went by, they became more confident and grew into their role. Some of them have gone on to do amazing things to support others in the community by utilizing the skills learned on the Crisis Line.
Over nine weeks, we provide skills-based training that includes learning to support and respond to callers with different issues and concerns. At the end of their training, volunteers complete a shadow shift. Even after volunteers finish their training, they are never by themselves—staff support is always available.
The Crisis Line provides 24-hour support to anyone calling—a woman in crisis, a concerned family member, friend, colleague, professional etc. Trained volunteers and staff provide information, share community resources or give a referral and walk a woman through a safety plan. If a caller needs our Emergency Shelter services, we conduct a shelter assessment, ask some key questions and make sure we have space. Calls can last anywhere from a few minutes to one hour.
We can all make a difference. Sometimes volunteers can feel nervous about supporting others but with certain skills and attitudes—by being understanding and compassionate—we can make a huge difference. A single supportive conversation can be a turning point for the individual reaching out.Our congratulations and sincerest appreciation to Marcia for 29 years of professional dedication to VWTH as an essential front-line worker. We are also grateful for the training and mentorship she provided over the years to practicum students, volunteers and peers.
DO YOU NEED HELP RIGHT NOW? 24 HOUR CRISIS LINE: 250.385.6611