Meet a W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Volunteer: Samantha W.

1) How long have you been with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I’ve been with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. since 2014… around three years.

2) Tell us a little bit about yourself?
 I’m someone who loves traveling, reading, and eating my way through San Francisco. I’m looking forward to adding the role of mother to my life soon too.
3) What is your role and what opportunities have you been involved with at the organization?
As a front-line crisis worker [on the 24/7 Support Line], I have had opportunities to connect with callers who are looking for help. This can range from figuring out whether their relationships are abusive, looking for emergency shelter, to learning more about legal options that exist in the Bay Area. I have also had opportunities to connect with other dedicated volunteers at fundraising efforts such as W.O.M.A.N. Inc.’s guest bartending nights.
4) What propelled you to volunteer with us & what motivates you to continue the anti-violence work you do?


I started volunteering with an amazing anti-violence organization (Battered Women Support Services) in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. My training there profoundly impacted my life, and propelled me to get an education in counseling psychology. When I moved to San Francisco, I wanted to continue connecting with smart, badass individuals who approach anti-violence work from an intersectional stance.
Even if I can’t make the biggest financial donation or dedicate as much time as I would like, doing something small and regular does make a difference. My motivation to continue the anti-violence work can be summed up by Margret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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2016 W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Annual Report

As the year comes to close, we are pleased to share with you our 2016 Annual Report. This report lays out our numerous accomplishments, our financial status, tells the story of a volunteer, board member and of a program participant and finally, how you can support our organization. I hope you will find the report is enlightening and inspiring.

Thank you for being a part of our community. Happy Holidays to you and yours.


Jill Zawisza
Executive Director
W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
2016 ANNUAL REPORT-page-001.jpg
Graphic Design: Noel Capapas

Congratulations to our Summer 2016 40-Hour Training Graduates!

TrainingWe recently wrapped up our Summer 40 Hour Collaborative training with the Riley Center. This was the first collaborative training with Riley’s newest Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Neda Said.  Our training began at the Women’s Building and continued at our new office location. Since January, we received over 125 applications from all over the Bay Area including several agencies. With the help of our community, we collaborated with over 14 different agencies to help us present the various topics we covered during training. We can’t thank you enough!
We are excited to welcome our community partners and newest volunteers: Ada, Bonnie, Karen N. Amparo, April, Alison, Lauren, Linda, Jody, Paula, S abrina, Karen K. Isariya and Beatriz. Thank you for your commitment in doing anti-violence work!
– Alicia, Educational Development Coordinator

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!

The Fall of 2015 group of W.O.M.A.N., Inc. folks who graduated the domestic violence training is one that sticks out for me. Since I began supervising volunteers, each person dedicating their time and energy into the organization has greatly impacted it.  Everyone has a strength they can bring whether it’s being really good at peer counseling, speak another language, reliable, communicative, having an awareness of power and privilege and bringing that to the table, etc. But this group in particular has really shown how impactful community can be.


This was also the largest group we’ve brought into the Support Line program.  Facilitating a Support Line program training for 14, when it’s normally 7-8 people, in a tiny training space was cozy to say the least, but it was there I noticed how supportive they were of one another.  A few of the volunteers work in the office and I’ll hear about how they will still spend time together outside of W.O.M.A.N., Inc., or just hearing how they speak of one another gives me another sense of the respect they have for one another. One of the biggest things that caught my eye was the support line volunteer listserv we have set up for all volunteers working on the support line.  Normally, the way it’s set up, if a volunteer needs time off from their weekly shift they are responsible for trying to find coverage for their shift.  There have been times in the past when volunteers have had a difficult time finding coverage since volunteers generally have a lot going on in their life which makes sense. Since this new group began working on the line, there have been the normal amount of time-off requests but it’s different now. There’s definitely a higher rate of response from other volunteers available to cover for someone.  I joke with them and with Joy, our Program Assistant, that they actually make our jobs a little easier since they are taking it upon themselves to fill those holes in the schedule. I also loved hearing about how one of our newer volunteers reached out to her pal who went through the Fall training with her and got some needed resources when staff was unavailable during her overnight Saturday shift. 

It’s examples like these that made me want to highlight the Fall 2015 training group.  I really love of how they go to one another for support which is something we try to demonstrate at the organization; we try to show how impactful community can be.  They are an excellent example of community!

~ Mary Martinez, Peer Services Manager


Volunteer Highlight: Christina Bulman

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I first got involved with W. O.M.A.N. Inc. in February 2014 through the DV training program.159633b6-265f-4dd1-aa98-b56d954fa980

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

I had friends that worked with W.O.M.A.N. Inc. who told me about the great work that they do to help survivors of domestic violence.  The more that I learned, the more I wanted to get involved.

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

I have been volunteering for shifts on the 24 hour crisis line, and I have recently started to help facilitate support groups.  Some of the calls can be tough, as many callers are at a difficult point in their lives, but it is also incredibly rewarding to hear survivors’ strength and hope for the future.

4) How has your involvement impacted your life?
Before volunteering with W.O.M.A.N. Inc. I did not know much about domestic violence.  Through W.O.M.A.N. Inc. I have learned more about the intricacies of domestic violence, and how wider social injustices such as sexism and racism allow violence to persist in communities.  I hope that my involvement with W.O.M.A.N. Inc. has made me a more socially conscious and compassionate person.  It has also been empowering to be part of an organization that supports so many people in the community.  Sometimes domestic violence and other social injustices can seem like overwhelming, unsolvable problems, but knowing that there are people like the W.O.M.A.N. Inc staff and volunteers working to support survivors and create change gives me a lot of hope.

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.?
My experience with W.O.M.A.N. Inc. has been wonderful so far, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N. Inc to get involved in any way that they can. I think one major piece of wisdom that I’ve gained through my experience is the realization that even though I will always have room for improvement in my interactions with clients, just doing my best to provide support and be present with clients can go a long way.

Thanks Katrina & KNow Research for all you’ve done for WOMAN Inc!

conferenceKatrina Noelle has been with us since the spring of 2013 and has been a wonderful addition to the events committee and to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. as a whole. She has helped draft and analyze surveys targeted at W.O.M.A.N., Inc’s community partners and supporters as well as website users in general. Recently, Katrina and KNow Research supported our 2015 San Francisco Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon team by donating customized t-shirts for the runners. Right now, she is helping us with in-person qualitative research initiatives to understand the key to volunteer retention.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 8.29.20 PMWhen asked about what keeps her connected with W.O.M.A.N., Inc she said, “I value the ability to help an organization doing good for the women in my local community. I spend a lot of time helping corporate and retail clients support women’s needs as consumers. In my volunteer capacity I value any contribution I can make towards them feeling, safe, secure and free as well.”

Thank you Katrina for all that you’ve done and continue to do for W.O.M.A.N., Inc!  We appreciate your generosity and hard work and feel very fortunate to have compassionate people like you supporting our cause.
twitter: @kat_noelle

Volunteer Appreciation Week Spotlight: Erica Meurk

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I first got involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in July 2014, when I attended the 40-hour training in working with domestic violence survivors co-hosted by W.O.M.A.N., Erica -- hikingInc. and The Riley Center. I had been looking to gain experience as a phone-line counselor as a way to determine whether I wanted to go back to school to become a therapist.

2) What inspired you to do anti-violence work?
My inspiration to volunteer with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. had more to do with assisting people who are struggling with difficult situations in recognizing their strengths than with working to combat violence, per se. I had a decade-long career in non-profit development and communications before moving from Seattle to the Bay Area and deciding to work toward becoming a therapist. Through my work in non-profit communications, I often interviewed community members and donors in order to write newsletter articles and blog posts – and I found that these conversations were always a highlight of my work week. Eventually, I came to understand that the interviews I was conducting – which focused on people’s accomplishments, values and hopes for the future – had a lot in common with individual therapy sessions.

Erica13) What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?

Since September 2014, I’ve been volunteering on the 24-hour support line on Tuesday afternoons. Since I usually take my shift from the office, I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know some of the organization’s lovely, committed staff. I feel honored to be part of an amazing team.

4) How has your involvement impacted your life?
Volunteering at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has been my first foray into peer counseling, and it’s been extremely valuable to me both personally and professionally. I am continually impressed and inspired by strength and resiliency of the people I talk to on the support line – and heartened by how powerful it can be to listen respectfully and help people recognize that they have the resources to work toward healthier relationships and happier lives. In fact, volunteering on the support line has helped me realize that I want to focus on people’s assets and strengths as much as I can as I begin my work as a therapist.

What W.O.M.A.N, Inc. has to say about this stellar volunteer:

  • “Erica has been with WI since August of 2014 but it seems like she’s been with us for much longer.  She does so well as a peer counselor, and of the times I’ve witnessed her on the support line, she makes sure each person calling is given the space to process and be heard.  I imagine Erica being a great coach or a therapist!  She has always been very communicative and reliable.  Whenever she works remotely she doesn’t hesitate to email us or check in when she has questions relating to a situation she had just encountered.”