Opinion

VOLUNTEER VIEW: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services offer resources, advocacy and support to victims

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services was established in 1979 and had about 60 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services of Whatcom County supports people affected by abuse, whether it happened 20 minutes or 20 years ago. Through individual and group advocacy counseling, legal assistance, safe shelter and community trainings, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services provides support, education and healing to thousands of people each year. On a broader scale, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services builds partnerships with law enforcement, social services providers and policymakers to improve the community response to domestic violence and sexual assault. Support from volunteers, donors and partners allows Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services to provide these critical programs and services to those who need them most, free of charge.

Volunteer highlights: Our volunteers are on the front lines of providing support and advocacy counseling for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault 24 hours a day. Our agency relies heavily on volunteers to provide caring, nonjudgmental and empowerment-based support, information and resources to survivors every day in a variety of settings, including our 24-hour helpline, our Downtown Support Center, our safe shelter and at court. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services could not offer the services that we do without the ongoing support of our dedicated volunteer base.

Signature fundraisers: Victory Over Violence Luncheon April 24 at the Northwood Hall; Tournament of Hope, Aug. 3 at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club; Hands for Hope Gala and Auction, Nov.7 at the Silver Reef Event Center. More details at our website.

Wish list: Art supplies, board games, diapers (all sizes), non-perishable snacks (Goldfish Crackers, etc.), gift certificates to help clients meet basic needs: (gas stations; stores such as Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, Target; Greyhound; hotels), linens: twin/single-size sheets, blankets, pillows and towels, shampoo and conditioner.

Volunteer needs: We are always in need of compassionate, dedicated individuals to join our team as advocacy counselors. Volunteers provide emotional support, safety planning, legal advocacy, information and referral services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault throughout Whatcom County. Please visit our website to apply for our next training session!

For more information, go online to dvsas.org.

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