WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The YWCA is on a mission to bring volunteers from all walks of life in to help with the mission of their organization.
“Volunteers can help tremendously by providing activities for children, activities for the women that live on the floor,” Heather Reeder, Direct Service Supervisor for Wise Options said.
The YWCA offers both wise options and liberty house. Wise Options is the only victim service center in Lycoming County, providing services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other violent crimes. Liberty House is a long-term living facility for individuals in recovery.
The YWCA is looking for passionate people to work with these victims.
“Having volunteers with us provides a big help. Staff burnout really easily in this field, but also to clientele and the children,” Reeder said. “Some days the kids just want to go out and write with chalk. Some days the women would like to sit down and paint their nails.”
But before you can apply, keep in mind there is special training needed. Starting next week, the YWCA will offer weekly training sessions. Each session runs two hours. Volunteers will go through in-depth webinars on how to deal with trauma, how to deal with a crisis, and what does a crisis look like in a case of domestic violence or sexual assault, which is extremely important when victims call the 24-hour crisis hotline.
“I called 211 and they were willing to allow me to move in here. I felt comfortable because the questions weren’t too far fetched. They just wanted to know how did I become homeless? What my goals were in my sobriety, at which I have 18-month clean next month,” Intisar Martin, a resident of Liberty House said.
Martin has been living in Liberty House with her three-month-old baby for the last five months. She tells Eyewitness News being able to connect with the volunteers has helped her tremendously.
“When the volunteers are here they make us more welcome to come and talk to them about issues we may have,” Martin said.
Staff members say they’re looking for at least ten volunteers to apply. They say if they get at least five they’ll be in good shape.
Volunteer training starts August 7th and will run through November 20th, finishing with graduation.