Newhouse Advocates Help Save Lives
50 hotline calls from individuals whose lives are at risk. That's what an 8 hour shift for an Advocate at Newhouse can look like. For the callers on the other end of the line, Newhouse's Advocates Kaitlin, Raeonna (Rae) and Austen offer a bridge to a better life.
Newhouse provides a 24-hour hotline and domestic violence shelter 365 days a year. Hired staff and volunteers, called Advocates, are trained to aid individuals and families who need shelter. When these survivors arrive at Newhouse, Advocates provide comfort and care to traumatized people who often leave home with no personal belongings.
Kaitlin and Rae are Lead Advocates, full-time staff, who recently shared their experiences in that role. Austen is a part-time advocate who is planning to attend graduate school.
Rae says that the Newhouse staff is very tightly knit because they work so closely to serve those in need. She feels that the residents become part of that family as well, and says it's bittersweet when a family leaves, because they are missed. Though some residents leave to return to their abusers, all survivors are encouraged to stay and work Newhouse's programs to reach success and go on to living a life free of violence and achieve self-sufficiency.
Austen is newer to the staff, but was recently impacted by a resident's survival story. When a survivor shared her success story with our Board at a meeting, she made sure to say that she was so grateful for Newhouse's compassionate and understanding staff. Then she referred to Austen by name, which touched him profoundly. He seeks to serve all residents with that level of impact.
The work is intense, and having co-workers that Advocates can depend on is very important to the functioning of the team. Phone calls can be a matter of life or death. Advocates must be ready to handle almost anything.
Kaitlin mentioned a distress call from a woman who claimed to have been locked in a closet for weeks. She didn't know where she was, and could not recall her name because her abuser never called her by name. She had broken out of the closet and used his phone while he was gone. She had no friends, and couldn't call the police because he had friends in local law enforcement who would alert him to her call. Kaitlin told the woman to remember the word "Newhouse." If she could get away, tell someone that she needed to get to Newhouse.
This caller never arrived at the shelter. But for those individuals and families who do come to Newhouse to recover from trauma and abuse, our Advocates are helping every hour, 365 days a year.
If you are interested in being a volunteer advocate or seek to serve at Newhouse in another capacity, contact Cicelynn Elix at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-462-0503.