Every month, Sarah’s Inn nominates a volunteer to be our Volunteer of The Month. Charlene Cliff was nominated as November’s Volunteer of The Month. Charlene joined the Sarah’s Inn team in October 1992. Our Volunteer and In-Kind Coordinator, Mariam, asked Charlene about her experiences as a volunteer.
- How long have you been volunteering with us, and how did you hear about Sarah’s Inn?
“October, 1992, I saw an article in either the Oak Leaves or Wednesday Journal about the work that Sarah’s Inn was doing and felt a connection to their mission. My daughter had left for college in September and I was an “empty nester,” looking for opportunities to move on.”
- What have you enjoyed about volunteering with Sarah’s Inn?
“There has been a consistent quality of professionalism and commitment to the clients we serve at Sarah’s Inn over the last 30 years. I have experienced the evolution of this agency from a few offices in an undisclosed location with only a PO box to an open-door venue with a multiple use building reflecting the outreach that has evolved and a strong visual presence in our community.
Within a few years of retiring from education, I was part of a team that developed the initial curriculum that took Sarah’s Inn into the Junior High Schools with a cyber safety and anti-bullying program embedded in the Health classes. Finding myself back in the classroom, working with teens and collaborating with teachers was an adventure I enjoyed.”
- Every month, you take on multiple crisis line shifts. How do you find ways to fit volunteering into your schedule?
“When I was still teaching, I took a Sunday evening shift because I knew I would always be home prepping lessons for the week ahead. I could volunteer from home as well as meet other responsibilities. Now, I find selecting times in my weekly schedule that generally find me at home makes balancing my commitments with Sarah’s Inn and personal life to work best for me.”
- What made you want to volunteer at a Domestic Violence Agency?
“I wanted to be a Social Worker but somehow ended up in Special Education. I felt that I had experience with transferable skills that could help me become to be an effective advocate for families in crisis.”
- 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?
“We are living in very precarious times, when it is more important than ever for everyone to be aware and involved in our democracy. A foundational precept is engagement and service, giving a person the opportunities to appreciate the power of human contact outside our comfort zones and make a difference. We all have a civic responsibility to do something and 'walk the talk' whether it’s voting, being a good example to our children or carving out time to be of service through community agencies or church groups. There is something out there for everyone and I encourage people to answer the call and find their niche.”
- Why should people volunteer at Sarah’s Inn?
“Sarah’s Inn is an agency that continues to evolve and find new ways to support families in crisis from domestic violence. There are many ways to volunteer and I assure you, you will receive all necessary training and support to meet your needs. Sarah’s Inn is a very special gem in our community and I’m proud to play a role in its success.”
Thank you Charlene 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.