Thursday, June 30, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Travis White

Travis is a superhero of volunteers.” – Debbi Cawthon, SafeChoice Shelter Manager

Travis White was inspired to become a volunteer three years ago while listening to a speaker at his local church talk about finding passion in life. Travis took the sermon to heart and began reflecting on his own life and soon discovered that giving his time to help survivors of domestic violence would be a perfect fit. That’s when he discovered the SafeChoice shelter – the only domestic violence shelter in Southwest Washington.

Every Friday for the last three years, Travis has devoted his time to nurturing children living in the SafeChoice shelter. Due to the nature of emergency shelter, the number and ages of the children Travis works with vary greatly from week to week which often dictates the activities they engage in. Sometimes they simply “hang out” and other weeks they create elaborate art projects. As Travis says, “The kids often know what they want to do. If the weather is nice they go outside but it all depends on the nature of who is there that day. Most of the time they will tell you what they want.”

The children that Travis sees each week come from a variety of backgrounds, yet they all have one thing in common: they are in need of positive, nurturing adult interactions. Travis notes that every once in a while, one of the children makes a connection with him and will seek him out week after week. That’s when he reminds himself that although the stories and situations are heartbreaking, he is there to help.

“I’m making a difference at least right now, today, for one child.”

When asked if anything was surprising about volunteering for SafeChoice, Travis remarked, “All the staff is impressive. They deal with stuff that society wants to pretend doesn’t exist in their own backyard. The staff is strong and they empower participants to move forward with their lives.”

While it is true that the SafeChoice staff is a group of strong, dedicated individuals, ywca clark county knows that the strength and commitment of the volunteers is what helps us achieve our mission each day. When asked what advice he would give to someone considering becoming a volunteer, Travis exclaimed, “Try it out! If it is something that fits within your passion and skill set, you will feel energized. If it doesn’t, you’ll know quickly.”

ywca clark county thanks Travis for his service and echoes his message to potential volunteers: “Try it out!”

For more information on how to get involved, visit

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