Kabria Pervoe joined our community of volunteers in February 2013 through an internship coordinated with the SAGE Scholars Program at UC Berkeley. She participated in our 40-hour training and has since been an active volunteer on the crisis line and in our Latina program. Kabria approaches this tough work with warmth, humor, and a great deal of understanding and appreciation for the many challenges that the survivors we work with are navigating. She is able to provide vital emotional and practical support to monolingual Spanish-speaking clients, assisting them with immigration benefits and in connecting them to other resources in the community. Kabria is leaving us to study Spanish for several months, but we look forward to working with her again when she returns! To learn more about Kabria and her experiences at W.O.M.A.N., Inc., check out her interview below!
What inspired you to do anti-violence work?
I have had friends and family closely affected by violence and specifically intimate partner violence. It is a line of work that is pretty near to my heart. I am also interested in becoming a counselor in the future and I wanted to get first hand experience working with survivors and trying to help them.
What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?
I have been actively involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. as a crisis line counselor as well as a volunteer for the Latina Program working with Spanish-speaking survivors.
How has your involvement impacted your life?
My involvement with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.. and as a domestic violence advocate has impacted my life in so many ways that I didn’t even think possible. It has been a journey in which I am becoming more aware of my own assumptions and biases. I am now aware of the detrimental effects that making assumptions can have on people. I am more patient in my life and more self aware. I am questioning beyond the initial presentation of a problem and trying to look deeper and at both sides of the story.
Situations that involve domestic violence are really complex and complicated and there is not a simple explanation of why it occurs or why the survivor just doesn’t leave (a common question of the uninformed). I am using my newfound knowledge and awareness of domestic violence and translating it into many other areas of my life. I also feel like I have a healthier relationship as a result of my involvement.
Working with survivors has also made me realize that even though I alone can’t necessarily eliminate violence in my community, my immediate contribution is making a real difference and is contributing towards that end goal. I can feel it in the reactions of the survivors with whom I interact. It has given me the courage to tackle the problems that don’t have simple answers.
What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
Even though I haven’t been with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. for very long, I have done a lot of hours and I have encountered a wide variety of clients and cases. My most helpful piece of wisdom would probably be to not take on the responsibility for the safety or wellbeing of the client with whom you interact. There might be calls or interactions that you may become more closely or personally involved in. You may feel helpless because there aren’t many resources or services you can provide them with, but you really want to help them and see them get out of the situation. When you hang up the phone or end the interaction with the client, you may feel like you weren’t much of a help or wish you could’ve done more (at least I know I did at times). Just know that even though you may have not been able to provide them with resources or advice that could immediately affect their situation, the simple fact that you picked up the phone and were able to listen to their problems and show them support really makes a difference and helps them realize that they are not alone.
What do you enjoy the most about volunteering at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I really enjoy the sense of community that I feel when I am working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. I feel accepted and appreciated by every employee and volunteer. It is so wonderful that you can laugh and feel heard in a room full people who are your superiors.
I also really love the support that I receive. It is so invaluable to be able to go to one of my supervisors and work through a difficult call with them. It makes me feel valued. It also helps me to leave the heavier conversations in the office and practice good self-care and self-awareness.
Can you share one fun fact about yourself?
I’m double-jointed and can jump rope with my arms as well as put my legs over my head. I could probably work as a contortionist if all my other career options fail.