There are many people in our community working to create positive change to end sexual violence. We want to meet as many of them as possible. If you would like to submit a recommendation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You get back a million times more than what you put in. You get the feeling of usefulness, which is better than anything. Volunteering at STAR is such an incredibly rewarding experience.
1. What is your position at STAR?
I began volunteering with STAR in its capacity as the Baton Rouge Rape Crisis Center as a hospital and phone advocate in 2011.
I personally think everyone should volunteer as part of their civic duty; I think there is something in us that makes us wants to reach out and help each other. The best way to do that is by volunteering your time to a cause you believe in. I moved to Baton Rouge for school, and during my first year a friend told me about STAR and the services it offered; I dropped off my application to be a volunteer that day.
I love being part of an organization that really gives back to the community. STAR was the first organization I joined that offered a number of resources, including educating the community and a focus on prevention. The benefits offered to the community from this organization are just so necessary and incredibly wonderful. It fit with my passions and the issues that I cared about, so I became a volunteer.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your participation in this movement?
One of the most rewarding parts of being involved with STAR is the knowledge I have obtained through my volunteer work. I feel like I have undergone some real growth in understanding issues related to sexual violence, through listening and educating myself on the issues.
The feeling that I am making a difference in someone’s life by making sure they know they are not alone is super nice, but the most rewarding aspect is being a part of such a great organization. It’s great knowing that STAR has an amazing staff and wonderful volunteers who are always are available to survivors, even when they don’t feel like they can express their worries, fears, or emotions with others. Providing answers, words of encouragement, and words of empowerment to individuals who are in need is incredibly rewarding. I’m so grateful to be a part of such a diverse and wonderful group of people who all feel the same way.
4. What motivates you to keep going when things get difficult or discouraging?
It’s not too often that I get discouraged when things become difficult because I’m motivated by the challenge, but it happens to everyone. It’s important for me to understand the needs of survivors, so providing them with the best services I can motivates me. At the end of a call or hospital visit I have a sense of achievement, so I’m then able to focus on enjoying life.
I have a desire to constantly grow as a volunteer. I complete as much training as I can to better understand issues survivors and their support systems may face. However, on occasion, I do doubt myself. I wonder if there was more I could have done, or if I left something out. At those points, I am motivated by cake. (I don’t discriminate, so as long as there is no coconut, it’s most likely the best cake ever.) Cake makes me super glad and helps me to remember to enjoy the little victories. So, even if I left something out or should have said more, I was there doing the best I could, and that is enough.
4. What are some simple, day-to-day ways you promote positive change in our community, outside of your work duties?
I strongly believe that emotions are infectious, so whenever I have the chance to be kind, or give a compliment or any type of positive affirmation, I do. Small actions can lead to large changes, so everything counts.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about becoming an active member of the movement to end sexual trauma?
Volunteering can be challenging at times and it is a commitment, but just check it out. See who you meet and how you feel afterward; you may discover a new passion. Also try to remember, you get back a million times more than what you put in. You get the feeling of usefulness, which is better than anything. Volunteering at STAR is such an incredibly rewarding experience. Being surrounded with people who are passionate about what they are doing is amazing.
Learn more about volunteering with STAR on our website.