W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Staff Highlight–Mariya Taher

Mariya - Staff highlight

How long have you been working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I started as an outreach volunteer in 2010 and then went on to volunteer on the crisis line. I was a volunteer with the agency for about a year before joining the agency as a staff member in August 2011.

What do you do at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I was hired to be the coordinator for the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC), which is an interactive online community network where Domestic Violence agencies can share information and resources with each other to help domestic violence survivors. So, I work with over 30 agencies to implement the system at their sites and provide trainings and such. In the last year, I also became the Development Coordinator at W.O.M.A.N., Inc., so I do everything from grant writing and supervising our events committee, social media, and development volunteers to working with other community partners to promote the work of our agency. One of our latest projects, which I really love coordinating, is our Moving to End Domestic Violence events. The events focus on building mental and physical wellness as well as building greater connection to the community by having community members, board, staff, volunteers, and others come together to participate in activities like our Doggie Walk.

How did you come into this profession?

I went to grad school to get my Master in Social Work degree and while in school, I realized that the projects that I was working on and the opportunities I kept seeking out were all related to improving the lives of women and girls, especially in relation to violence against them. Also, like many others who work in the domestic violence profession, I had a personal connection with domestic violence. Those experiences are what led to my desire to learn more about why it happens and what is being done about it.

During my second year in grad school, I interned at the Department on the Status of Women, and one of their partner agencies was W.O.M.A.N., Inc. That’s how I first learned about the agency and the work they do. Since working at this agency, my knowledge has grown tremendously in this field. I now realize that domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. It happens to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, education level, income, etc. It’s a profession that I want to continue to work in and an issue that I want to continue to build more awareness around.

What are you looking forward to as W.O.M.A.N., Inc. continues to grow?

I love the idea of our agency being able to offer more holistic services. We have very strong direct services, such as our 24-hour crisis line, therapy program, etc., but what I’m really excited about it is how we are creating opportunities for survivors who may not be in immediate crisis anymore but who want continued support or want to stay connected to our agency. Our Echando Pa’lante and Moving to End Domestic Violence programs are seeking to do just that, so I can’t wait to see those programs grow more. I also love collaborating with other agencies throughout the state on the DVIRC project and am looking forward to growing the number of domestic violence service providers utilizing the system.

What do you enjoy most about working at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

Oh my gosh, working at this agency is so enjoyable! I know that might sound strange since I’m working at an anti-domestic violence agency. But the agency really values self-care, which is so important when you are working in such a trauma-filled field, and I must say that humor is a big part of that self-care. I think people are always surprised at how much laughter is always happening when they walk into our office and oh it can get distracting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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