By: Jacey Christensen
Volunteering in the Time of COVID-19: The story below outlines how services are typically provided by Rise Above Violence volunteer or staff advocates. During our current situation we need volunteers more than ever. Rise is taking every precaution to protect our staff, volunteers, and our clients. Our current services are being offered by phone or secure video conference. If there is a need for in-person support at the emergency room or to take clients to safe housing, all precautions are being taken to ensure both the physical safety of our clients as well as protect staff from unnecessary exposure. Since the shelter in place order went into effect, the call volume as doubles for Rise - volunteers are can be trained remotely to help respond via phone. IF you have time right now and want to learn more please contact us.
It’s 11pm on a Tuesday night. Law enforcement responds to a domestic dispute in which a man has physically assaulted his female partner. Law enforcement reaches out to Rise Above Violence for an advocate to respond on scene to support the victim. A Rise advocate jumps in their car and quickly makes it to the home of the victim. She is visibly upset and has evidence of physical violence as well. As law enforcement finishes their paperwork, the advocate is left with the victim who is feeling devastated and traumatized. After a long, compassionate conversation with the victim, she decides she would like to seek medical attention for her injuries. The advocate drives the victim to the hospital and stays by her side while she relives her traumatic story yet again to medical professionals. The advocate is there to sit with her through her medical exams and then to drive her back home afterwards, as she is extremely exhausted.
Although responding on scene is a rare occurrence for our volunteer advocates, it is one of the actions our organization takes that often leaves the most impact on our victims. After the dust has settled and first responders have left the scene of the domestic violence incident, a victim often feels helpless with no one to process the events. Imagine that this is your daughter, niece, aunt, best friend or anyone else that you love who is a victim of a domestic violence. Would you hope that she has a kind and knowledgeable advocate there to guide her and support her through this time? Many people who live in Pagosa Springs don’t have family near, and in tragic times they only have our wonderful volunteers to lean on.
Rise Above Violence has a 24-hour hotline that covers 7 days a week. The days are broken down into two 12-hour shifts. The first shift is from 6am to 6pm and the second shift from 6pm to 6am. Each volunteer selects their shift including which nights or days they want to cover. Depending upon their personal schedule, our volunteers decide how many shifts they want to take each year. When on call, we ask that you be available to respond to any calls. We do not expect you to put your life on hold and stop your daily activities, just that you remain accessible to respond to a crisis call if and when you are needed.
If any of this has sparked your interest, please feel free to reach out to Rise Above at 264-1129 for more information.