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Be The Change

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Ghandi

This year our Community Resilience Team (CRT) has been actively engaged in providing education and support to individuals, families, and organizations throughout the Northern Neck and Essex County. Their primary function is to help each community in our service area work towards developing trauma-informed and resilient systems that prevent violence and promote healing.

The CRT has also enhanced our recruitment of both teen and adult volunteers. For years, our volunteers have been essential to accomplishing our mission of preventing and eliminating all types of sexual and intimate partner violence. This past year, The Haven Volunteer Program grew to more than 25 active volunteers donating over 1,900 hours of community service. New activities this year have included providing more direct service and support to survivors on-site at our shelter. During the school year, volunteers have helped out at the shelter by providing after-school homework help and assisting shelter residents with their resumes and work preparation. During the summer, volunteers were able to serve as “buddies” to children who participated in the 4-week summer camp.

As a way to prepare members of the community who are interested in providing support for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence, the CRT restructured the prior volunteer training to create a more comprehensive Foundations of Advocacy (FOA) training. The FOA training is a free, 3-session course offered twice a year. It was designed to make the information about the impacts of trauma and the needed advocacy more accessible to members of our community. The Haven recently finished up their Fall session of the Foundations of Advocacy Training. Five staff members and volunteers were familiarized with the services of The Haven and how to provide trauma-informed services to survivors of sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

To celebrate the dedication and commitment, to the work and mission of The Haven, of our volunteers, community allies, and staff we host a Community Awards Luncheon. At this year's event we we honored Andy Kauders (The Katherine Farmar Service Award), Anita Ware (The Enduring Commitment Award), Computer-Telephone Technology (The Oak Leaf Award), and several volunteers who had donated over 75 hours of their time within the last year.

After celebrating each of their accomplishments, we received the following message from a volunteer who was acknowledged:

"The luncheon last week was so nice. I enjoyed hearing about all the awardees and their dedication to The Haven. Today I received a lovely note from a board member who was not able to be there. It brought me to tears. Things like this confirm that I am at the right place to share my time and abilities at this time in my life. Thank you for all that you do for all of us." - Cathy White

The change we wish to see in the world starts with the help and support of our volunteers. By engaging the community in the development of trauma-informed and resilient systems, The Haven believes that we will be able to offer the support necessary, within our community, to help individuals who have experienced violence go on to lead violence-free lives for themselves and their families. We are stronger with their support for our mission and advocacy.

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