W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Advocate Highlight: Lucy Chen

1) How long have you been involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?unnamed-1

I have been involved with W.O.M.A.N. Inc., for almost 4 years I believe.

2) What have been your roles at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I have been a crisis counselor volunteer and a case manager assistant for Paola during Latina Program. I have also volunteered in some administrative areas like grant research and participated in different meetings and events from the community.

3) How did you come into domestic violence field?

In city college giving DV presentations to college and high school students.  After my associate degree in Psychology I decided to volunteer in W.O.M.A.N., Inc and get involved in anti-violence work.

4) What do you enjoy most about your work at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.? What do you love most about working with survivors? 

I enjoy being part of a great team that supports their staff and volunteers with any concerns or questions. I love the strength and wisdom I gain from each survivor I work with. Each of their stories are filled with so much courage and love despite adversities. It is an honor for me to serve them and that, in itself, motivates me to continue this work. 🙂

5) Can you share a fun fact about yourself? 

A fun fact: Im obsessed with science fiction and cute animals

Volunteer Highlight: Astrea Somarriba

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I started volunteering for W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in October 2015.

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

My freshman year of college, I traveled to Lima, Peru with a group of students to learn more about the street child phenomenon and how it intersects with sex work in the city. During this trip, we had the opportunity to speak with and learn from sex workers who shared their unique stories, strengths, and hopes for the future. This propelled me towards further examining women and sexual violence in areas that have witnessed conflict or hardship and led me to Thailand, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Many of the women I met shared similar experiences of abuse, but also demonstrated remarkable resilience, and I was eager to continue learning from and working with survivors of abuse back home in San Francisco.

3) What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?
With W.O.M.A.N. Inc., I’ve had the opportunity to work the support line, and in the process, learn a lot about domestic violence resources in the Bay Area. Now, I’m constantly on the lookout for cool organizations and am excited to share what I’ve learned with friends and fellow advocates.unnamed

4) How has your involvement impacted your life?
Working the support line has taught me a lot about what it takes to be fully present for another person. I’ve learned the value of pauses and in finding answers to challenging questions together. It’s given me the chance to develop my listening and facilitation skills, and “check myself” and any assumptions I may have often.

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.?
You may have extensive training to provide support to domestic violence survivors, but the survivor is the expert in their own life and the author of their own story. It’s an honor to be included in their journey, so enjoy the time you have with them and make sure to take time for yourself. Acknowledge when you need space and time to re-energize and reflect.

6) Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I cannot whistle and have very little interest in learning at this point.


Astrea also writes for Young Minds Advocacy. Check out her recent piece illuminating the importance of cultural competency.

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, Sabrina, Karen K. Isariya and Beatriz. Thank you for your commitment in doing anti-violence work!
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– Alicia, Educational Development Coordinator

Volunteer Highlight: Ignacia Pérez Botto

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I got involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in October 2015.e202bb5c-cee6-43d1-8afe-82d9d4d5dabd

2)What inspired you to do anti-violence work?
I have always felt interested in working towards stopping the injustices that are in our society. Since I was a teenager, I wanted to become a psychologist, and when I graduated I had no doubt that I had made the right choice. I started working in human resources and practicing my passion in mental health as a volunteer, mostly with children and families.
Today, anti-violence work is a field I feel committed to, because it combines my passion of the work that I have been doing with families with a challenging issue that affects all kinds of people, no matter nationality, race or level of education.

3)What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?
Since I finished my training in October of 2015, I have had a lot of different opportunities at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. First, I started covering the support line, and I am still doing that currently.
Later, I started receiving people who come for drop-in support and also got to facilitate a Spanish support group. All of these different areas have been an opportunity to practice containment, support, and also to learn from others. Yes! In this field you never stop learning!

4)How has your involvement impacted your life?
When I moved from Chile to the US, I felt the necessity of being involved with a non-profit organization and started building my entire career around my passion with mental health.
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. was the first place that opened their doors, trusted me and offered a new field to work with. Today, after 6 months, I think that I found a place where I feel comfortable, and where I feel free to express
my opinion and give ideas.

f707a5a0-2bb8-44e5-bbe5-5cf114b3081f5)What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I would tell them that by doing this job we are agents of change, and that even a small piece of our practice, such as answering a short call or giving a referral, may mean a substantial difference in someone’s life.
To new volunteers, I would say that by doing this job we should be aware that we may feel challenged and sometimes overwhelmed, so it is very important that, as part of our routine we give ourselves a space to practice self-care. This will be a key word if you want to work in helping others.
Finally, I would like to say that, by working in this field I feel that we are powerful agents that can educate our communities towards a better understanding about what domestic violence is about.


Here’s what our team has to say about this stellar volunteer:

“Ignacia has done so much for the Latina Program already. She is always ready to help out in anything and everything. I really appreciate how much she has helped me out.” -Adilia, Echando Pa’lante 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.

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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.

2015 W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Annual Report

As the year comes to close, we are pleased to share with you our 2015 Annual Report. This report lays out our numerous accomplishments, our financial status, tells the story of a volunteer 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.

Sincerely,

Jill Zawisza
Executive Director
W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

 

 

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