This week we are bidding a reluctant farewell to one of our superstar volunteers, Nathan Hand. Before he left, we sat him down for a little Q&A so that our readers could get to know him a little bit and appreciate him as we have…
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I work for the state government as an environmental scientist. I’ve lived in the Watertown and Waltham area for about four years now, but I grew up and went to school in Binghamton, NY. I enjoy staying active, and practicing my cooking and mixology on any one who will let me.
How did you get involved at REACH?
I read Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear in college and it opened my eyes to the reality of domestic violence. I knew I wanted to make a difference, and I found REACH through a Google search. After an interview and training course, I’ve been volunteering at the shelter for over a year now.
What are some of the roles you’ve held or projects you’ve worked on over the years?
Before I started, I imagined myself taking hotline calls, counseling adult survivors, dealing with people in crisis and other high-stress situations. What the residents and survivors most needed, though, was someone to help their kids with schoolwork, especially math and science, and keep them productively occupied so the parents could have a break. It’s a role I was surprised to find myself in, but one I couldn’t be happier with.
What do you like most about volunteering with REACH?
Working with the kids has been one of the most rewarding and fun things I’ve ever done. Despite the heartbreaking circumstances they sometimes come from, they are all are eager to learn, grow, and play. Whether I’m helping them achieve their goals in Math class or listening to them tell stories about their friends and school, I like to hope I’m giving them a sense of security and normalcy during their time at the shelter.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering with REACH but aren’t sure if they should get involved?
As one of the few men who volunteer at the shelter, I’d like to encourage other men to consider the good they can do by getting outside their comfort zone and volunteering here. We have a unique opportunity to be a positive influence and role model in the lives of people who need it most. I’ve also made lots of friends among the staff and other volunteers that I work with, and frankly, my nights here are usually the highlight of my week!
If you are inspired by Nate to help make a difference in the lives of survivors and their children, we will have a volunteer training coming up in the fall. Click here for more information.