by Judy Szeg, Educator/Office & Volunteer Coordinator, Safeline
Did you know that the many member programs of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence have a wide variety of youth volunteer and service learning opportunities? Volunteering is for people of all ages and that certainly includes youth!
Safeline has been very, very fortunate to have had amazing young people supporting our work in many ways. Volunteer/service learning opportunities include doing research on various topics, distributing posters and brochures around our service area, tabling at events, hands on clerical or technical support, cleaning and maintaining our facility (Shout out to The Sharon Academy students for the recent work days!), answering the hotline, collecting petition signatures for town appropriation requests (Civics in action!), co-presenting with staff at school or community trainings, fundraising and more.
Lifelong activism can begin at a very young age. One such high school student was Jeanelle Achee. She was willing to the interviewed about her childhood experiences of being exposed to a batterer in a YATF newsletter issue focusing on resiliency. While still in high school, she completed Safeline’s advocacy training and covered hotline shifts. When she went to college, her pager went with her and she continued to cover hotline for us, eventually making the transition to covering the hotline at the local Network Program serving that area. As an adult, and during her tenure as Miss Vermont, she has continued doing extensive domestic and sexual violence outreach, education and direct service.
More and more schools encourage or require community service of their students, so please keep the youth volunteer opportunities at your local Network Program on mind. Volunteer opportunities may vary from program to program.