June 14, 2012
I was feeling depressed after the loss of my mother. Not yet ready to get back to work full-time, and not sure if I should implement a career change, what I did know is that I wanted to do something useful, something that I felt good about. I decided that I wanted to contribute to a cause that I believed in and one that had a positive impact on my community. I remembered a flyer that I had received about an organization that helped survivors of domestic violence through healing art projects. I thought it was super cool. I have always found art to be a healing force in my life. (It is now apparent to me that I became an art major in order to save myself, without even being conscious of it at the time)! So I filed the flyer away, thinking that I might like to get involved later on. In my state of desperation I looked for the flyer and found it and thought this may be the place--especially when I saw that it was located in my very city. Keeping it local also appealed to me. I checked out my spiritual centers non profit affiliations, and saw that they were also involved with a healing art program. This seemed like an omen to me, it solidified my decision. I knew for sure that this was where I need to concentrate my energies, efforts and love and see how it unfolds. I wrote a letter to Lonnie, the Volunteer coordinator at AWBW and she responded right away, and enthusiastically. Probably echoing my own enthusiasm. She asked when I would like to come in, we set up a time, and I have been forever grateful to her since. Everyone there made me feel so welcome, and they were so appreciative of everything that I did. I looked forward to going in the office. I saw first had the work they put into changing the lives of women and children who have suffered. It made me feel so good to be a part of the process. Even if it was just preparing art supplies -- sharpening pencils, or cutting strings for an art workshop. I loved being there so much that I think Audrey (the operating manager) must have noticed and asked me to help with a temporary position. Being there everyday, even if for a little while, solidified my feelings about how great the work they do is. Being there also had another side effect that I was not quite prepared for. My memories of my own abusive parents started to come up for me. I had certainly recognized in the past that I had an abusive family, particularly my step Father, but I don't think I ever dealt with all of my feelings around it -- at least not full on. Participating in one of the workshops while attending as a volunteer, I had a very powerful and moving experience, painful, but very cathartic. It made me think that perhaps I should join AWBW's, monthly healing art group -- Survivors Art Circle. It has taken a while for me to admit my past publicly, but and it has genuinely helped me further along on my personal journey of healing. And now I really see how it impacts the lives of so many, like myself. AND I also can vouch for how beautifully executed and heartfelt everything AWBW takes on turns out. I am honored to be a volunteer for AWBW, and I would encourage anyone looking for a great organization to get involved with to do the same. Lisa Pearson
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