Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that a free springtime training course is available for persons interested in becoming confidential Volunteer Advocates for victims of sexual violence.
The course provides volunteers with training in crisis counseling and medical/legal accompaniment in a supportive, empathetic environment.
Upon successful completion, volunteer advocates will be qualified to answer hotline calls and offer in-person support through the Union County Rape Crisis Center (UCRCC), a long-running program of the Union County Department of Human Services. The UCRCC has provided reliable, confidential guidance to victims of sexual violence since 1984.
“Sexual violence affects people from all walks of life. The Freeholder Board is extremely proud of our volunteer advocates, who provide support and help restore a sense of community and self-worth to our fellow Union County residents facing a significant life crisis,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “If you are looking for a worthwhile volunteer activity, I encourage you to contact the Union County Rape Crisis Center and ask about the upcoming training program.”
Current Advocates often describe the experience as rewarding, something they would highly recommend.
Advocate Sue (Advocates use first names only) said, “Volunteering at the UCRCC is important to me. I want survivors of sexual assault to know they have total support from the advocates at the UCRCC at a very critical time in their lives. It’s important for them to know they are not alone. My advice to prospective advocates is to really commit and do it with your heart.”
Advocate Stefanie added, “Hearing the stories and being in the presence of a victim is not always easy, but knowing that we are there to help is the most rewarding feeling. I’m proud to be a part of a team that is always there for one another. The bond that we share is indescribable!”
The next training course will begin on Thursday evening, April 16, and continue for 12 more sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., until June 2. There is no session on Tuesday, May 12.
The training will take place at the Colleen Fraser County services building, at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield.
Volunteers must be Union County residents at least 18 years of age. They must hold a valid driver’s license and have their own vehicle. Prior to training, each volunteer will come to the UCRCC office for an informal interview.
To find out more about volunteering and to schedule a potential interview, call 908-233-7273. For more information about the UCRCC, including personal stories by volunteers, visit the UCRCC blog at unioncountyrapecrisiscenter.blogspot.com.
Image credit: Aidan Jones via flickr.com, creative commons license.