Monday, August 10, 2015

Why I Volunteer for YWCA Clark County

Rachel Pinsky (left) with YWCA Clark County Volunteer Coordinator Nichole Peppers (right).

By Rachel Pinsky, YWCA Clark County Volunteer

I moved to Vancouver a couple of years ago. I was looking for a volunteer opportunity to do some good work, meet people, and get to know the community. In the past, I have assisted survivors of domestic violence, which is what initially led me to YWCA Clark County. When I found YWCA’s website, I was amazed at all their programs. There is a domestic violence shelter and advocacy services, counseling for survivors of sexual assault, a child care program for low-income families, a court appointed special advocate program that assists children who have been abused and/or neglected, and an independent living skills program for children aging out of the foster care system.

My background is working directly with survivors of domestic violence; however, my schedule was not conducive to doing the training necessary to provide that kind of direct service. I worked with the volunteer coordinator, and she found a place for me in the Philanthropy Department. I had never worked in fundraising, but I knew this was a vital part of a non-profit agency, and I was eager to learn develop new skills. I have volunteered in the Philanthropy Department for two years. I have learned a lot about organizing and setting up events, procuring auction items, and all the things that go into successful fundraising. The director and staff of the Philanthropy Department have done an excellent job of finding interesting tasks for me. I also enjoy the way they work together as a team.

My schedule recently became more flexible and I went through the training to be a SafeChoice volunteer. The SafeChoice training was fascinating. I learned about the dynamics of domestic violence, empowerment-based advocacy, and many other things. Since completing the training, I am learning to be a court advocate for survivors seeking a restraining order.

There are many things I love about volunteering at the YWCA Clark County. It is a warm, supportive environment. The people that work there love their jobs and work together as a team. In addition, there are so many volunteer opportunities that it allows volunteers to learn and grow while they are helping others. I highly recommend contacting the volunteer coordinator, Nichole Peppers. She is a great person to work with and she will find you a volunteer position that fits with your schedule and your interests. I also encourage potential volunteers to try different types of work within the organization —YWCA Clark County does so many great things. It is interesting to try them all so you can find your true calling.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at YWCA Clark County please contact Nichole Peppers at 360-906-9112 or The next training cycle begins September 3rd.

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