Every month, Sarah’s Inn nominates a volunteer to be our Volunteer of The Month. Leslie Singel was nominated as April’s Volunteer of The Month. Leslie joined the Sarah’s Inn team in June 2020. Our Volunteer and In-Kind Coordinator, Mariam, asked Leslie about her experiences as a volunteer.
- How long have you been volunteering with us, and how did you hear about Sarah’s Inn?
“I have been a volunteer since June of 2020. I live in the area and have seen Sarah’s Inn’s name pop up from time to time but really learned about Sarah’s Inn through an Oak Park email mailing list that I am a part of. They mentioned a diaper drive for Sarah’s Inn that was coordinated by OPRF students. When I learned about Sarah’s Inn and what they do, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is a place I want to support!’
I spoke with the previous Volunteer and In-Kind Coordinator about volunteering and he said I could volunteer remotely even with young children. That is when I decided to officially volunteer and start the 40-Hour Domestic Violence Training.”
- What have you enjoyed about volunteering with Sarah’s Inn?
“There are two things in particular that I have enjoyed about volunteering with Sarah’s Inn. First, the training was extremely educational and filled in the gaps about domestic violence.
The second thing I enjoyed was getting to know the other volunteers. Some were social workers, others were survivors themselves. I greatly enjoyed hearing the stories of each of the volunteers in my cohort.”
- Every month, you take on a few regular shifts. How do you find ways to fit volunteering into your schedule?
“Believe it or not, I found more time during the pandemic to volunteer. I managed to create a weekly schedule where I am able to volunteer at three different organizations. Having a set crisis line schedule allows me to plan out my schedule months in advance. I am a planner, so it is helpful to be able to anticipate what is coming up and plan events around that.”
- What made you want to volunteer at a Domestic Violence Agency?
“I read a book a few years ago, ‘No Visible Bruises’ by Rachel Snyder, that really impacted me and made me want to work with survivors of domestic violence.
During the 40-hour training, Colleen, Director of Training and Education, said ‘If we do our jobs right, we will be out of business.’ It stuck with me because I thought ‘yes, this is one of those fields that if we do our jobs right, we would not need domestic violence services.’ The more we learn and educate ourselves, the more likely we will not need these programs since domestic violence would be eradicated.”
- Some people may find it difficult to balance working, volunteering, and their personal lives. Why do you think it is important for folks to find the time to volunteer?
“Volunteering makes me feel like I am contributing something to a chaotic world, especially this last year. Volunteering puts your life into perspective; it helps us to understand issues that we may not have been exposed to before and makes us feel a sense of gratitude.
If I was ever in need, I would want to know that there was someone out there that I could rely on. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know that someone will be there in your time of need to help?”
- Why should people volunteer at Sarah’s Inn?
“The great thing about volunteering with Sarah’s Inn is that you can commit to as little as 6 hours a month but those 6 hours could change someone's life. It feels good knowing we are there if somebody needs us. A minimum commitment can create a maximum impact.”
Thank you Leslie for volunteering with Sarah’s Inn. If you are interested in volunteering, the best way to get involved is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, where you will be able to learn more about volunteering opportunities that are available to you.