Every month, Sarah’s Inn nominates a volunteer to be our Volunteer of The Month. Kate Dawson was nominated as September’s Volunteer of The Month. Kate joined the Sarah’s Inn team in June 2023. Our Volunteer and In-Kind Coordinator, Mariam, asked Kate about her experiences as a volunteer.
- How long have you been volunteering with us, and how did you hear about Sarah’s Inn?
“I completed my 40-hour DV training in May 2023 and have been volunteering with Sarah’s Inn since June 2023. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago and heard about Sarah’s Inn through my first level internship at Family Horizons Counseling, which is a group practice in the city that provides domestic relations and forensic services to low-income families. We are often working with children and families who have experienced abuse, violence, and significant hardship. My supervisor, Virginia Ryan, used to work at Sarah’s Inn and offered me an opportunity to get the 40-hour Domestic Violence Training. After completing my certification, I started working the crisis line.”
- What have you enjoyed about volunteering with Sarah’s Inn?
“Volunteering with Sarah's Inn has been a truly fulfilling experience. One of the aspects I've particularly enjoyed is the opportunity to provide support and resources to survivors of domestic violence, knowing that I'm making a tangible difference during such a challenging time. Witnessing the strength and resilience of survivors has been incredibly inspiring. Additionally, the sense of community within Sarah's Inn has been incredible; working alongside dedicated staff and fellow volunteers who share the same commitment to this important cause creates a supportive and inclusive environment. Being part of an organization that supports survivors in their journey towards healing and empowerment is a profound source of fulfillment. It's inspiring to witness the passion and resilience of everyone involved in the organization.”
- Every month, you take on multiple crisis line shifts. How do you find ways to fit volunteering into your schedule?
“Sarah’s Inn makes it easy to crisis line shifts into my schedule. I’m able to take calls early in the morning, late in the evening, and overnight. There is a lot of flexibility with options for days and times, since we are available 24/7. I am also grateful to have a wonderful support network of family and friends who understand and support my commitments, which is a key part of being able to manage it all.”
- What made you want to volunteer at a Domestic Violence Agency?
“The decision to volunteer at a Domestic Violence Agency like Sarah's Inn was driven by both personal and professional experiences, and my desire to make a positive impact on the lives of survivors. I strive to actively be a part of the solution to both interpersonal and community violence, and contribute to creating a safer and more supportive environment for those in need at the most critical moments. As I begin my professional journey into mental health and clinical work, it has been so impactful to be on the frontlines of crisis situations. The training and experiences I’ve had with Sarah’s Inn will most definitely stay with me in all of the future work I do.”
- 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?
“It can absolutely be a challenge to balance everything. I am currently in graduate school full-time, working as a student clinician at Family Horizons, and completing a clinical internship at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Despite all of these commitments, making time to volunteer with is really important to me. I think we all have a responsibility to contribute to and uplift our communities and neighbors. Additionally, finding the time to volunteer fosters social connections with like-minded individuals who share similar values and passions. Ultimately, the personal fulfillment that comes from making a tangible, positive impact on others' lives is so rewarding and worth it.”
- Why should people volunteer at Sarah’s Inn?
“Sarah’s Inn is such an incredible organization at the forefront of Domestic Violence awareness, prevention, and response. There are so many ways to get involved; whether you’d prefer to be supporting a survivor in the heat of a crisis during the middle of the night or working behind the scenes in prevention and awareness, there is something for everyone. The entire community at Sarah’s Inn is beyond supportive, uplifting, and passionate about what they do.”
Thank you Kate 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.