5 Reasons to Volunteer at a Domestic Violence Shelter

5 Reasons to Volunteer at a Domestic Violence Shelter

tweet me:
5 Reasons to #Volunteer at a #DomesticViolence Shelter http://3bl.me/8eq3qt from @MaryKay Foundation

Multimedia from this Release

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 12:05pm

CAMPAIGN: A Commitment to Ending Domestic Violence


This week’s guest blogger is Rachel Madson Zarling. She gives us an inside view of her experience as a shelter volunteer.

5 Reasons to Volunteer at a DV Shelter
Volunteering at my local domestic violence shelter (first Madison then Milwaukee, Wisconsin) has been a very rewarding experience. Here are five reasons why you should consider giving your time to the shelter in your community.

1   Your shelter needs you. Many shelter’s budgets go toward things like community awareness and outreach, salaries for the shelter staff and facility upkeep. Shelters need volunteers so funds can be allocated to the basic necessities of feeding and clothing the women and children who live there.

2   Volunteers help shelter professionals concentrate on the women. Reliable volunteers who show up on time and work hard can be a huge help to the shelter staff. Then, they can focus on the women and children who live at the shelter, which is the No. 1 priority.

3   You will learn so much about how domestic violence affects your community. One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Chances are, you already know someone who is being or has been affected. As a volunteer, you will most likely go through extensive training before you volunteer. The training seminars I attended in both Madison and Milwaukee were some of the most powerful and informative seminars I've ever attended.

4   You will learn so much about others. You will hear stories of strength, courage, sadness and desperation. Some stories that you hear will be shocking, while others will warm your heart and make you believe in the good of everyone around you. You will learn about different cultures and the various roads people have traveled before arriving at the shelter. You will become more aware of the human condition. The bottom line is most people want to be loved and to be safe. And you will learn that the women and children who deal with domestic violence are some of the strongest and most capable people you will ever encounter.

5   You will learn so much about yourself. You will hopefully learn that you are capable of understanding and empathizing with people even if they look different than you or have different life stories. You will hopefully learn that you are capable of handling a whole new type of pressure that comes with the urgency of shelter life. And lastly, you will hopefully learn that you are not at the shelter to rescue or save anyone but to em-power the women and children who enter the safety of shelter walls.

Please consider donating your time to your local shelter. If time is something you lack, please consider donating to The Mary Kay Foundation, which helps to support hundreds of shelters across the country.

Besides being a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, Rachel is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. She resides in Milwaukee with her husband, Jake, and son Mack. She has a master’s degree in community counseling and enjoys traveling, read-ing and spending time with family and friends.