WISE volunteers shine
There are so many people within our community who stand with us, shining, and committed to supporting survivors. Over 120 community members participated in WISE training to be present for survivors as volunteer advocates, court observers and ambassadors. In addition to this vital group of volunteers, there are other community members that give their time serving on our Board of Directors, leading WISE support groups, individuals and groups volunteering for specific service projects, student interns and Americorps volunteers. We are thankful for their special service and contributions to WISE.
WISE court observers were an important presence in the galleys of Vermont and New Hampshire court rooms, supporting survivors. One court observer shared that they appreciated “watching the court system at work and being a visible presence for survivors.” WISE ambassadors helped bring our message to the Upper Valley by tabling at community events and helping out in other ways. One ambassador said, “I feel I’m making a difference in my community while supporting a cause I believe in.” Since March there have not been any opportunities for our Ambassadors and court observers as the community stays home and the courts limit the number of people allowed in the court room. We miss our ambassadors and court observers and we look forward to their steady presence when it is safe for us to all be together again.
Crisis line volunteers contributed 9,418 hours taking calls after office hours during evenings, weekends, and holidays and also provided essential support to staff during the day at the Program Center. Our crisis line volunteers have been a tremendous help throughout this difficult time. They have been incredibly flexible adapting to the many changes that keep coming their way ensuring uninterrupted availability of WISE support and advocacy. Some office volunteers have also continued to support staff from their homes as WISE went remote.
During the pandemic, services and systems continue changing, and our volunteers' creativity and commitment to survivors has been remarkable as they adapt along with us to new conditions and guidelines. They quickly learned the evolving ways to apply for protective orders, the changing options for housing, and how to connect by phone and video chat with survivors in the hospital. Their commitment reinforced our ability to remain available every hour of every day for survivors without interruption, during this difficult time.