Fall 2017 Domestic Violence Training Concludes
REACH recently wrapped up the fall session of our twice-yearly extended training for new staff and volunteers. Twenty-three people participated in the training (20 who completed the whole thing, 3 who attended certain select sessions). Thirteen of the participants were new REACH volunteers or interns while the rest were outside service providers or new REACH staff. Several of the training participants were preparing for a newly created role at REACH: that of Direct Service Office Volunteer. Previously, volunteers wanting to do direct service with survivors or their children mostly worked out of our shelter, while occasionally coming to the office to help out with childcare during support groups.
In our new office space, however, we have an actual reception area and opportunities for volunteers to help us out there. Volunteers in this role will greet survivors as they arrive, triage any crisis situations that arise, and answer our phones. “We are really looking forward to having volunteers serve in this new capacity,” said REACH Community Engagement Specialist Lauren Montanaro, who coordinates the volunteer program and training. “We hope that it’s going to have a positive effect on the survivor experience as they visit the new office, and also be a meaningful way for the volunteers to engage with REACH and with our work.”
The Direct Service Office Volunteers and other participants learned about a wide range of topics, from patterns and various types of abuse, barriers faced by survivors wanting to leave abusive relationships, to the basics of working from a trauma-informed perspective, to the effects of domestic violence on children. Participants also explored legal issues surrounding domestic violence and learned how about safety planning, teen dating violence, and specifics around REACH’s philosophy and approach to the work. Toward the end of the training, they heard from a member of REACH’s Survivor Speakers Bureau, who spoke about her own experience of domestic violence and the ways in which REACH helped her move past her abusive marriage. “This was a great group of trainees,” Montanaro said, “they were eager to learn and asked insightful questions. We’re glad to have them as part of the REACH team.”
REACH will hold another extended training (approximately 40 hours total) in the spring, and other shorter opportunities in between. If you are interested in volunteering with REACH, or attending a training to learn more about domestic violence and how you can be part of the solution, click here for more information and role descriptions.