Through the Eyes of a Volunteer

(04/13/2016)

When the phone rings, your mind kicks back to all the hours you completed to become a volunteer advocate against domestic violence. You completed all the hours of training available, you read through all the material the agency offered you, and you listened to real life testimonies of women who overcame the obstacles of living with domestic violence. In other words, you prepare to answer the hotline where someone, somewhere in the city of Las Vegas needs help because domestic violence just became a violent—if not deadly—life event. 

As the Safe Nest advocate prepares to pick up the phone you prepare yourself to answer and listen to the voice on the other side of the hotline. The caller needs help in filling out an Emergency Temporary Protection Order - ETPO as it is known in all legal circles. However, the advocate stumbles as the caller only speaks Spanish. The advocate turns, prepared to call the language line for assistance, but hesitates just slightly and turns to the volunteer advocate - me. I am the volunteer advocate who is fortunate enough to speak both English and Spanish fluently. The advocate asks me if I am willing and ready to assist with the call. Without hesitation, I step in and say yes! I am reassured by the advocate that she will be by my side to guide me through the call and to properly fill out an ETPO on the caller’s behalf. 

The caller is filled with sadness and grief as the events of domestic violence are still fresh in their mind. The trauma of domestic violence is enough to change people’s lives in a dramatic way, more so when you do not speak English. The ETPO application is filled out successfully and approved by a judge who is on standby 24 hours a day because domestic violence situations do not have standard hours of operation. I feel, as a volunteer advocate for Safe Nest, a sense of satisfaction that tonight I have made a small difference in someone’s life. I realize the resounding message that our Volunteer Coordinator gave to us volunteers time and time again, “because of you, a victim of domestic violence may become a survivor”.  

It is important to realize the need for volunteer advocates is necessary and the need for bilingual or multilingual advocates is just as equally important as well. I became a volunteer advocate for Safe Nest to continue the fight against a beast - domestic violence. I became a volunteer advocate to answer the hot line in any language necessary. I became a volunteer advocate for Safe Nest to make a difference. 

Jeannette S., Safe Nest Volunteer Advocate

For more information on Safe Nest Volunteer Program, please click here.