New York Times recently published an article entitled “Police Departments Turn to Volunteers” which informed readers of a new trend among police departments that involves allowing community volunteers to help with police investigations. The article highlighted some factors that lead to the new trend, which include allowing police department budgets to go further and presenting witnesses and/or victims with people they may feel more comfortable interacting with. We at the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County can surely relate to the important energy and input volunteers can bring to organizations they choose to get involved with. Currently, we have over forty active volunteers donating their time to help FVPC. We are also excitedly awaiting the arrival of seventeen new volunteers who are in the process of completing their volunteer training.
Like the police departments mentioned in the article, we accept volunteers from all walks of life. Like the police volunteers in the article with backgrounds ranging from assistant golf pro to Spanish teacher, our volunteers range from undergrad students to med students to retired professionals. We celebrate the diversity present among our volunteers because we believe it enables each individual to bring new skills and experiences to the center. Much like the police volunteers’ status as civilians may make them more approachable to other civilians, the array of skills and experiences present in our volunteer base makes it more possible for our clients’ needs to be understood and met.
Regardless of what path of life our volunteers stem from, all of our volunteers are trained and able to utilize the skills most important for work at FVPC. Such skills may include active listening, a non-judgmental attitude and a strong interest in helping others. These skills allow our daytime and overnight hotline volunteers to really hear what our clients are saying and to make appropriate recommendations for their safety and well-being. They also allow our community education volunteers to understand what certain age groups need to hear in order to make domestic violence relevant to their lives.
So thank you, FVPC volunteers, for using your time to give back to the community through volunteering at FVPC. If you’re not a FVPC volunteer now but would like to be, keep an eye on our website. The next volunteer training session will be held in the fall. Other great websites to find available volunteer positions include The United Way and Volunteer Match.