Sherri Bennett, Executive Director at YWCA signs her e-mails with the phrase, “Strong Alone. Fearless Together.” In each newsletter we’ve introduced you to one strong volunteer from our fearless team. In 2013, we will introduce you to our strong staff, but you can still meet our great volunteers in the volunteer venue. With more than 600 people actively involved in YWCA Clark County, we cannot feature every staff, or volunteer. Our hope is that by meeting a handful of us each year, you will feel the passion and hope that runs through all of our veins and makes us “Fearless Together.”
This month, meet Cecily Griffus, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer) Advocacy and Dating Violence Prevention Specialist. Cecily has been with YWCA for 4 years. She started as an intern with the SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program in 2008. Since that time, she has grown to be an expert in violence prevention. Cecily serves on a number of YWCA committees. I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with her on our upcoming Dynamics of Oppression Training, and found her endless passion for humanity to be remarkable. Cecily specializes in culture-specific advocacy and prevention for dating youth and the LGBTQ community.
Just as teens have a culture, so does the LGBTQ community. As an LGBTQ advocate, Cecily uses her personal experiences and cultural-specific resources to relate to survivors from this minority group. She stated that, “A survivor who identifies as LBTGQ may not feel comfortable working with someone who is not from the LBTGQ community.” Like services provided to Latina or senior populations, the existence of a culturally specific advocate can be a huge deciding factor in whether or not the person will even approach an agency for services.
The work that Cecily does for this community aligns well with her personal goals of helping to advance effective prevention education, integrating information and solutions to relationship violence in to mainstream culture, and eliminating a need for domestic and sexual violence services. If you too are interested in violence prevention, or want to learn more about dating violence and LGBTQ-related services you can contact Cecily at 360 696 0167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.