Volunteer Spotlight: Bridget Daly

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I started at WOMAN Inc at the end of February, 2014.

2) What inspired you to do anti-violence work?

I had been looking for a way to contribute to the community of women in the Bay Area. I also wanted to learn more about working with a feminist non-profit . When a friend of mine told me she was working the crisis line, I wanted to know more. I read the stories of survivors, volunteers and staff on the WOMAN Inc blog, Facebook page, etc. and knew that I could help and be helped in the process. Bridget - Volunteer Highlight

3) What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?

I have worked mostly on the Domestic Violence Information Referral Center (DIVRC). I help update the calendar with upcoming events, add new services for survivors, and organize new resources in the DVIRC library. In addition to working on the DVIRC, I have helped put out the DIVRC newsletter and organize the generous donations sent to WOMAN Inc from the community.

4) How has your involvement impacted your life?

WOMAN Inc has given me the opportunity to contribute to something bigger than myself during a time in my life when I felt powerless to effect change. As I learned how to help around the office, I realized that the contributions I was making to WOMAN Inc were helping me in the process. Meeting new people, developing marketable skills and learning from survivors and advocates greatly increased my confidence and sense of self worth.

5) What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

When you surround yourself with empowered, endearing, determined women (like those found at WOMAN Inc), you will begin to find these qualities in yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support.

Faces behind the Project – Introducing the DVIRC Volunteers

The DVIRC now serves over 40 domestic violence service providers in California, and with Blue Shield recently awarding W.O.M.A.N., Inc. an additional two year grant to further expand the system throughout California, volunteers play a crucial part in ensuring the success of the project. Currently, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has two very dedicated DVIRC Volunteers, Bridget and Jun, who help to ensure all the day to day operations of the DVIRC project are taken care of!

DVIRC volunteer, Bridget

DVIRC volunteer, Jun

Bridget began volunteering at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in February 2014, while Jun began volunteering in August 2014. Both of them help ensure the DVIRC Events calendar and overall community wall resources are updated with the latest news regarding trainings, conferences, and job postings for advocates and domestic violence information for survivors and advocates working in the field. They also help in creating the DVIRC newsletters that are sent to all participating DVIRC member agencies every two months. One of the latest projects they’ve been working on also includes creating the DVIRC feedback survey that we are asking all parties who utilize the DIVRC to complete to help us better improve the system. To Jun and Bridget, we would like to say thank you for all of your tremendous support! The DVIRC community owes you two a big one!

Blue Shield Foundation Awards Grant to Expand DVIRC Statewide

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is happy to announce that with the financial support of the Blue Shield Foundation, we’re able to make the DVIRC system accessible to even more domestic violence service providers across California. The project will span the course of two years and will include building a statewide expansion and sustainability plan for the DVIRC project.

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The DVIRC emerged when California and many of our domestic violence agencies were threatened with no state budget allocation for services. This would have resulted in the diminishing capacity to offer survivors services. The DVIRC offered a solution by using “collective capacity” techniques and tools to serve survivors. The DVIRC’s collaborative nature means the system’s efficacy expands exponentially with the increase of agencies joining. With additional domestic violence agencies added to the system, domestic violence advocates across California will be better able to ensure survivors can locate shelters and other vital support services in a more efficient and timely manner. Learnings from the last phase of the DVIRC project, which included piloting the project in Del Norte and Ventura Counties, indicated that there was a very specific need in regards to collaboration, especially in rural areas with sparse resources.

At W.O.M.A.N., Inc., we strive to be innovative in our practices in response to survivors’ needs. We also believe that to truly shed light on domestic violence and work towards reducing it for future generations, the domestic violence field must work together to build a stronger, more coordinated network of domestic violence service providers and thus more appropriate, efficient, and reliable services for those suffering from abuse. We must be able to learn about each other’s domestic violence programming and share best practices, specialized knowledge working with specific populations of domestic violence survivors, and communicate with one another in so that domestic violence agencies in the state of California are not each working in their own independent silo to address a global problem. We’re excited about the next phase of the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center Project and to see the positive outcomes of expansion for all survivors and the domestic violence advocates supporting them in California.

To learn more, check out the Blue Shield Foundation Website.

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Presents the DVIRC to San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women

On July 23rd, staff members Jill and Mariya presented the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC) to the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women.  The Commission is dedicated to a broad range of issues affecting women and girls, including violence prevention, gender equality in the workplace, and equal representation on public decision-making bodies. The Commission was pleased to learn of the advancements made in this now 4 year old project and other guest presenters during the meeting, such as Minouche Kandel, Women’s Policy Director for the Department on the Status of Women and Pamela Anderson of ETR Associates, also made reference to the utilization of the DVIRC. ETR Associates completed a community needs assessment for the Department on the Status of Women and found that the DVIRC was of vital importance.

As an online interactive community network, the DVIRC provides a safe space for member domestic violence service providers to share, network, and access updated information so that effective and appropriate resources and referrals can be offered to domestic violence survivors. This system which is being utilized by 35 domestic violence service providers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Ventura, and Del Norte is now seeking to expand to other parts of California. In the past four years of the project, our agency has learned that to successfully transition to an online platform for collaboration, human relationships are still essential to the success of the project. The DVIRC seeks to enhance collaborations through a new medium, connecting service providers throughout the state, and providing survivors with more resources and options to help themselves if dealing with an abusive relationship. As a result, the DVIRC builds bridges between service provider and survivor.

The project was developed by W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and Force by Design in 2010. It has been funded by the Strong Field Project (jointly funded by the Women’s Foundation of California and Blue Shield Against Violence Program), the Verizon Foundation, the Blue Shield Foundation of California, and the David B. Gold Foundation.

Powerful Partnerships Conference Follow-Up

Powerful Partnerships logoOn April 24th and 25th, The Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Delaware and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence co-hosted a national conference to honor the power of partnerships in ending domestic violence.

The conference celebrated and coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Delaware, the 20th anniversary of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. The conference included a variety of workshops including topics related to engaging men and boys, leadership development, legal system response, strengthening the movement and wellness and self-care.

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. was fortunate enough to be asked to present on the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC). The DVIRC is an online database of close to 1,000 resources for domestic violence survivors and offers ways in which domestic violence service providers can continue to stay connected through online forums, a shared library and community calendar. During the session, Community Liaison Manager Mariya Taher and Program Assistant Tania Parks shared a bit about the history of the project, briefly toured participants through the features of the site, and shared some of the challenges our agency has encountered throughout the course of the project.

The session had a good response from participants and we are already in contact with agency representatives in that region of the country to offer support while they create a similar resource platform.

Goodbye Amelie, Our DVIRC Program Assistant

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For the past two years, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has been lucky enough to call Amelie Booska a volunteer for our agency. Recently, she received an extraordinary opportunity to become a fellow for a microfinance nonprofit and though we are incredibly happy for her, this sadly means that our agency had to say goodbye to seeing her around the office on a regular basis.

Amelie joined our agency in April 2012 as a volunteer for the Domestic Violence Information & Referral Center Project (DVIRC) . During her time as a volunteer, Amelie helped create a training video that fellow domestic violence service provider agencies can utilize to become familiar with the DVIRC, trained other volunteers and created a Volunteer Guide for other DVIRC system volunteers to access.  As the DVIRC expanded across the state of California, our agency needed additional help to ensure that our Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC) was well-maintained and running smoothly for all domestic violence advocates who accessed the system. In April 2013, Amelie was brought onboard as the DVIRC Program Assistant. In this position she helped ensure that our network of agencies remained connected and updated on the progress of the DVIRC project by creating bi-monthly newsletters to all of our partner agencies. Amelie provided the very much needed technical support to our partner agencies. In addition to her work with the DVIRC, Amelie joined the social media volunteer committee and development committee to help outreach to the community about the services provided to survivors of domestic violence. Amelie was one of the most dedicated volunteers our agency has ever had and she will truly be missed. We wish her the best of luck with her new fellowship and reminder to not be a stranger to W.O.M.A.N., Inc.  Besides, as she knows no one really ever leaves W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

 

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. to Present at Powerful Partnerships Conference

Our agency recently learned that our proposal to speak on the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC) project led by W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and utilized by thirty-four agencies throughout California, was accepted by the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Delaware and the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence. On April 24-25th, staff members Jill Zawisza and Mariya Taher will head to Newark, Delaware to present at the “Powerful Partnerships: 20 Years of the Violence Against Women Act and the Path Ahead” Conference. The conference will highlight the power of partnerships in working to end gender violence and celebrate the collaborative work fostered by the Violence Against Women Act over the past 20 years while embracing creative approaches and exciting alliances. Toward this end, the conference will create a unique space for survivors, community activists, advocates, researchers, business leaders, and government officials from across the nation to come together to share research findings, best practices, and lessons learned and to foster trust, resilient relationships, and innovative strategies for addressing gender-based violence as we look forward to the future. This is a wonderful opportunity for W.O.M.A.N., Inc. to showcase the successes of the DVIRC and how the system has built a stronger, more coordinated network of domestic violence service providers across the state of California.

To learn more about the conference, click here.