Volunteer Opportunities - ACCESS - Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support

Volunteer Opportunities

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Volunteer Advocates

Thank you for your interest in becoming an ACCESS advocate! Volunteer advocates are the backbone of our agency. It is through their hard work and dedication that we are able to provide 24 hour services to victims/survivors and their loved ones.

Advocates have many roles within our agency:

  •     Answering crisis lines
  •     Responding to survivors requesting medical and legal advocacy
  •     Maintaining confidentiality of services
  •     Provide empathetic crisis counseling services
  •     Help refer survivors to other helpful agencies within the community
  •     Providing support to outreach and shelter clients; men, women, and children
  •     Promoting community engagement
  •     Help with awareness events within the community
  •     And MUCH, MUCH more!

A good advocate is someone who listens to a victim/survivor, believes that the victim/survivor was assaulted, and provides an appropriate, compassionate response. Sound like you? We'd love to have you on our team!

 

Training

ACCESS provides an in-depth training to equip volunteers with the information and tools they need to succeed as a volunteer advocate.  If you're interested in becoming a direct volunteer, an application and attendance at all training days are required for certification.  For individuals interested in attending only a portion of the training for increased knowledge regarding domestic violence or sexual abuse, please contact our volunteer coordinator directly to register.  Training is offered multiple a year.

To register, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@assaultcarecenter.org or (515) 292-0500 

Please inquire about the next training happening September 2018 in Ames!

Material covered during training includes information about the healing process and the ways in which domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, stalking and harassment impacts victims/survivors and those they love. We will also focus on crisis intervention skills, cross-cultural counseling skills and the medical and legal systems as they pertain to victims/survivors.

You may complete our online application. Alternatively, you may email volunteer@assaultcarecenter.org and ask that the application packet and a training schedule be e-mailed to you.

Interviews are scheduled as applications are received. Questions? Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 515-292-0500.

Be informed before you APPLY, know:

  •     Criteria for Acceptance
  •     Duties
  •     Time Commitment
  •     Advocate Guidelines

Criteria For Acceptance

Working with domestic and sexual abuse victims/survivors is a wonderful privilege and a great responsibility. To that end, it is important that you are committed to creating a respectful, accepting and inclusive environment. We ask that all volunteer applicants:

  •     Be at least 18 years old
  •     Commit to following ACCESS’s confidentiality policy
  •     If interested in being an On Call Response Volunteer: reside or be able to respond within 60 minutes to a crisis response
  •     Consent in writing to a criminal background check. (You will be disqualified if you have an assault on your record)
  •     Commit to attending all scheduled trainings (approximately 32 hours over two to three weeks)
  •     Be mentally and emotionally prepared to discuss sensitive topics
  •     Demonstrate respectful and highly effective communication and listening skills
  •     Demonstrate acceptance of diverse lifestyles, values and opinions
  •     Refrain from judging others' choices
  •     Understand and be willing to adapt to a non-blaming, non-directive, survivor-centered model of counseling


Duties

Volunteer advocates must be able to provide information, referrals and crisis intervention to victims/survivors and their loved ones over the phone, as well as in-person support at hospitals and local law enforcement agencies. Volunteers take shifts weekday evenings after business hours and on the weekends.

Crisis Line Volunteer Advocates: You can use your own phone or be provided with a cell phone so you can volunteer from home. We require that you be in a quiet and private location for taking calls.

In-person Volunteer Advocates: Must be able to respond within 20 minutes to the location of an advocacy. Locations include any hospital/medical facility within Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, and Tama counties.

All advocates are required to communicate effectively with those using ACCESS’s services and keep accurate records of caller and in-person interactions.

Time Commitment

Volunteer advocates must attend 32 hours of mandatory training that includes the successful completion of assignments and role-plays. In addition, we ask that you commit to volunteering for at least one year,  attend our volunteer continuing education meeting monthly and take between two and three volunteer shifts (at least 4 hours in length) per month (Crisis line, Response, Shelter).

Advocate Guidelines

To provide the highest quality services to victims/survivors, volunteers must be emotionally healthy and well-trained.

A lack of emotional health could result in:

  •     An inability to provide quality support and advocacy to victims/survivors and their loved one
  •     Harmful mistakes in the performance of advocate duties
  •     Detrimental effects on your overall well being  and quality of life

A lack of training (knowledge and skills) could result in:

  •     Relaying inaccurate information
  •     Making unintentional insensitive remarks

To that end, it is essential that you:

  •     Successfully complete all aspects of training
  •     Attend monthly continuing education meetings
  •     Agree to receive performance based feedback
  •     Request additional training or information on situations or topics about which you have questions
  •     Convey any concerns or insecurities you may have to the ACCESS Volunteer Coordinator or Executive Director
  •     Be cognizant of your own emotional health and stress level
  •     Agree to request a leave of absence from advocate duties, if needed. We understand that sometimes stress, sleep deprivation, a hectic schedule or other circumstances can cause a decline in your emotional health and impact your ability to volunteer with us.

 

Survivors Interested in Volunteering

If you are a survivor of abuse, it is important that you have had time to heal. Sometimes providing support to other victims/survivors can trigger issues you thought were in your past. We recommend that following your victimization, you wait at least one year to volunteer at ACCESS.

Why Should I Volunteer?

As an advocate, you will offer support to domestic and sexual abuse victims/survivors and their loved ones. In return, ACCESS can provide you with:

The opportunity to make a tangible difference: You can see the impact your work has during one-on-one contact over the phone or in-person at the hospital, police station and court system.

Personal growth, empowerment and confidence: The skills you develop as a volunteer are often useful in your personal, school and work life. Being an advocate prepares you for difficult conversations, empowers you to speak up when victims are blamed, and arms you with confidence when helping others and yourself.

Counseling skills and knowledge: Advocates receive 32 hours of training on the dynamics of sexual abuse, counseling and active listening skills. They also receive information about community resources and referrals.

College credit: Many Iowa State University departments offer college credit to volunteers. See your advisor to determine if you qualify.

Job or graduate school experience: Graduate schools and employers often look for well-rounded applicants who give back to their communities. Your commitment to training and volunteering will look great on your graduate school application or resume. ACCESS can provide references for graduate applications, jobs or scholarships.

Networking and friendship: During training and monthly meetings, you will meet others who have common interests. Many advocates find good friends and networking opportunities through ACCESS.

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