Volunteers, donations welcome year round
Whether they are helping people through crisis situations or gathering donations to help those in need through the holiday season, members of the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) are working hard to make the holidays a joyous time for everyone.
SPAN provides a number of services during the holiday season, including what they call an “Annual Days of Giving Holiday Benefit,” in which local businesses sign up on certain days to give a percentage of the revenue they make that day to support SPAN services. They also host an annual sleigh ride for children, which was held on Dec. 2.
The more volunteers SPAN has during the holiday season, the better, said Nancy Chavez-Porter, volunteer coordinator. SPAN, seeks volunteers year round and is currently recruiting for their volunteer training beginning Feb. 3, 2007.
All volunteers for SPAN are required to go through a 50-hour paraprofessional training, which is offered three times a year, in February, June and October.
“The training is not boring,” said Emily Anderson, a senior psychology and women’s studies major. “I thought it was a really amazing experience, and I really learned a lot.”
Anderson has been a volunteer with SPAN for a year and a half now.
Volunteers choose SPAN for a number of reasons such as: “They want to help women, or they want to learn about things that happen with real people. Or, some have experience with domestic violence and want to help others get through that experience,” Chavez-Porter said.
Volunteering with SPAN can offer a number of good qualifications for future careers.
“It’s a very enriching experience,” said Lisa Olcese, the training and community education director. It’s a good experience if you are someone who seeks to “work for social justice and social change,” she said.
Volunteers are able to “be there for others in a way they would want someone else to be there for them,” Olcese said.
Volunteers with SPAN can fill a number of roles for the organization, including helping out at the shelter and answering telephones for their crisis hotline, working with the children directly, working with the Domestic Abuse Response Team, volunteering as administrative assistants in their offices or as court advocates in their justice center.
Anderson helps around the shelter and on the crisis hotline. She said she has gotten a number of different phone calls on the crisis line, anything from women who want to come into the shelter, to people needing phone numbers.
“I just think it’s a really great experience,” Anderson said. “I think it’s a great organization, and I love the women that work here. I’ve really enjoyed volunteering here.”
“Everyday is pretty different. You never know what to expect,” Anderson said. “I think Safehouse does a lot for women. It’s a great thing to be involved in.”
If you are interested in volunteering with SPAN, please visit their website at www.safehousealiance.org to download an application, or call Nancy Chavez-Porter at 303-449-8623.