June has been a DVSAS volunteer since October of 2011. In her nearly five years with DVSAS, June has worked to help many survivors feel safe and confident in their future. June has worked many shifts on the Helpline and has made a difference in countless lives. Because of dedicated volunteers like June, we are able to provide survivors with someone to listen, and someone to help.
You’ve been volunteering with DVSAS for nearly 5 years. What inspires you to volunteer?
There is a huge need for volunteers in many organizations, but at DVSAS there is such a specialized need. Five years ago I had no idea that I was about to learn a new way of communicating with people! All people, not just on the DVSAS Helpline. I find myself putting on my invisible advocate hat in every single aspect of my life and I can thank DVSAS for helping me acquire these skills. It continues to amaze me when entering into a conversation with a person listening, not just with your ears, but with your whole heart, passing no judgement, looking at the issue at hand from many angles and then empowering them to see that choices are emerging. It just takes so few words, planting seeds of empowerment, always considering the safest route and suddenly glimmers of hope emerge. Sometimes, at the end of a particularly difficult conversation, just hearing a client say thank you feeds my soul and inspires me to continue.
You regularly pick up on call shifts, what do you enjoy most about them?
I try to fill the need at times when it is needed most. If a call for help is posted in our Advocates Facebook page then I know there is truly a need! The DVSAS staff works so hard day in day out, it has always been my secret dream to have so many volunteers that we have two volunteers on call for every single help line shift! If I see the post and I can rearrange my schedule then I am in!
Do you have any inspiring words to encourage other volunteers to pick up on call shifts or overnight or weekend shifts?
The more shifts you volunteer the easier the conversations flow – jump in and give it a try! Even take a partial shift if your life is hectic. I think the one thing I learned about being on the help line shift is you get way more out of a help call than you give. It is always amazing to me when the words that I need to say most to the client just come pouring from me when moments before I had thought there was never going to be any new situation told to me that I hadn’t already heard many times before.
Do you want to highlight any personal projects?
Recently I have taken on a huge project, providing handmade sock monkeys to children about to enter the foster care system through Skookum Kids. I once took a sock monkey with me to a hospital call for DVSAS where I was advised the victim was a 3 year old girl. The monkey wasn’t a favorite of mine but she was the only one I had on hand. It was a pink monkey with huge elephant type ears. I wondered if this little girl would take one look at the critter and say no thank you, but as it turned out, she played peek-a-boo with those huge floppy ears for over an hour and then we had a game of hide and seek where the monkey was hidden in pretty much the same location over and over, but it definitely passed the time. I’m having fun with this monkey project and they are doing the job we intended which is to put smiles on the faces of children in need, one little face at a time.