I am a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard. One of my additional duties is serving as a sexual assault victim advocate for my units. I was looking for a way to gain experience is providing advocacy services, and it was suggested that I look for ways to volunteer in this capacity in my community. 360 Communities is located in my county, so I looked there first. The path to volunteering with 360 was very easy to complete. I attended a 40 hour training session, where I expanded my knowledge of advocacy services. They also did a background check on me. Once training was complete and my background check was verified, I was able to start my volunteer service. I have responded to 6 calls for sexual assault victim advocate. I find the work very fulfilling and it has definitely met my needs for increased experience as a victim advocate.
Review from Guidestar
I have been personally involved with 360 Communities' Lewis House for the past year and a half as a volunteer court advocate for victims of domestic and/or sexual abuse.
I have been continually impressed with each and every one of the caring and devoted staff. They do a tremendous job and have been fantastic to work with. They truly care about the victims that come into their system and are working very hard on outreach programs to expand their services to more victims. They also truly appreciate my service and have made me feel very accepted into their "community".
Mine has been a wonderful and fulfilling volunteer experience where I truly feel that I am contributing something useful and needed, and would highly recommend this organization to anyone seeking to "make a difference" through community service!
I have had a relationship with 360 Communities for over ten years. The early years were a nightmare that that they helped me endure. Not only did they help me endure it, but they showed me the path to a new life and a new future. In the past six years, as a domestic abuse survivor, I still stay in touch with them several times a year. They initiate the contact just to see how I am doing, what is going on in my life, how my children are doing, and to show their support. How many organizations stay in touch with former clients this long? I am not just a number or a former client to them. I am a friend, a mother, a daughter, a person.
I consider them to be extended members of my family. They are the reason I am here today to write this review. I put my faith and trust in them, and I am now exceeding goals that I had set years ago and never thought I could achieve. All throughout this time, they had my back and encouraged me every step of the way.
Regaining self-confidence and a feeling of self-worth is never an easy process. God bless them for helping me do just that.
360 Communities falls far short of expectations for survivors of domestic violence. While this agency professes to empower survivors of violence to attain self-sufficiency, this is merely lip service when a woman attempts to rise above her past and become an accepted member of society. My personal experience with 360 Communities' Lewis House began when I attended their battered women's support group. During my tenure as a "victim" of abuse, the staff turnover was so frequent that one barely had time to develop a clinical gestalt with advocates and support group leaders before they were fired, downsized, or otherwise transferred to other positions. One particular advocate was not even allowed to say goodbye to the women she served. Years later, when I had successfully overcome my personal issues with domestic violence I felt a strong desire to give back to my community in the area of domestic violence. I applied as a volunteer at 360 Communities Lewis House, and was told that survivors of abuse made excellent volunteers, and that I could begin training at the next possible opportunity. I agreed to attend additional training in sexual assault services, even though the training was a heavy burden on me because I was also attending college and working toward my Bachelor's degree in Human Services. Understandably, volunteers must undergo a background check, and I was honest about my past as a survivor of abuse, in which I had pled guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in self-defense when I was still in an abusive relationship. I was told that this would not be a problem, so I continued with my training. When I was about half-way through with my training I was told that I was not eligible to volunteer. This was done via e-mail; I was not even given the courtesy of a personal conversation. When I finally saw the email several days later, I asked about my training and was told that I could indeed complete my certification in Sexual Assault Services. This too was a lie. When I arrived for training my training log had been removed from the folder, and when I asked about it the trainer stated that she didn't know what I was talking about. I called the volunteer coordinator and was told that I would no longer be able to attend training. During my early training with 360 Communities I was told that this organization does not distinguish between volunteers, clients, or board members; we are simly all "neighbors" and should be treated as such. This is a very noble goal, and one that 360 Communities should pay more attention to actually doing, rather than just paying lip service. It appears that 360 Communities would rather keep women trapped in the cycle of abuse rather than regard them as contributing members of society.
Review from Guidestar