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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing

Mission: The mission of First Step is to reduce the incidence of domestic and sexual violence and to provide services to individuals affected by these crimes. The ultimate goal of First Step is the prevention of domestic and sexual violence through education, advocacy, appropriate intervention, and collaboration.

Results: First Step has spent the last few years raising funds to build a new residential facility. The construction is nearly complete (as of March 2011). We are currently seeking funds to build a resource building to house donations, agency vehicles and pets as well as funds for furnishings, technology etc... We are proud of our donors and the community for supporting this project.

Target demographics: Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence in Wayne County Michigan.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 16,480

Programs: Counseling, 24 hour helpline, Assault Response, Community Response in Local Courts and Police Departments, Emergency Housing, Transitional Housing, Prevention/Education, Children's Programs, SANE Exams, Legal Info plus much more

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

I first entered First Step in January 2014. As a survivor, I'm eternally grateful to this organization. They helped me more than I ever thought possible. Thank you for everything, First Step.

Meaghan M.


Rating: 5

First Step is a wonderful place to volunteer. The staff are very supportive and you're never given a task until you are confident, through training, that you can handle it. I spent two years as an advocate and the care and concern the advocate team provides for volunteers is excellent. The volunteers are truly appreciated and respected. The variety of opportunities to provide support, care or talent is endless. I highly recommend First Step as a place to invest your volunteer hours. You will be helping people who truly need it and you will be supported and appreciated. Lastly, you will feel very good about your contribution. It's a great experience.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In 2011, I visited the First Step facility and instantly fell in love with the people that ran the organization. The compassion the staff displays for victim's of domestic and sexual violence was humbling. They work tirelessly to create fundraising opportunities, complete grant submissions and manage their budget as if it was their own money in order to provide the best possible care for the special people that ask of First Step's assistance. I was honored to become a Board Member in January 2012. This organization is critically needed in this community and deserves the best possible chance to grow funding and gain increased support. This organization isn't trying to put a band-aid on the problem, they are attacking it at the root for long term change by providing counseling services, safe environments, education and victim advocacy.


Rating: 3

First Step is a wonderful organization filled with altruistic people who have changed our society by subtly educating communities on the negative effect of sexual violence and other types of intimate terrorism. Many of the counselors are gifted people in heart and counseling. However, the organization should see the protection of its volunteers as its number one priority. Perhaps the organization should align themselves with Attorneys who understand and defend victims. As First Step has already put forth the concept that Victims are often re-traumatized by the legal system and its processes and formal procedures. Advocacy groups should avoid permeating re-traumatization implicitly or explicitly through its processes and procedures respectively.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

First Step is a phenomenal organization with a dynamic staff. I am a surivor who now thrives as a result of this organization and the positive impact of the therapy I received from one of their incredible counselors. It has been a privilege to be a client, donor, and promoter of this organization.


Rating: 5

First Step, has made an impact on domestic violence victims, that need assistants with intervention and prevention techiques. Staff and volunteers are eager to help! I wish First Step the best in future developments and advancements within the communities it services.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Good Morning!

I have been affiliated with Frist Step for six years. The organization is dedicated to assisting women and children during a most difficult time in their life and empowering them to a life of peace and independence.

I have visited the shelter many times and each time I am overwhelmed by the need in our communities. I am grateful that First Step is there, as it is often the only option for women to get out of an abusive situation and get the guidance and emotional support they need to change their lives.

First Step is a wonderful organization that has made a difference in the lives of many women and children.


Cheryl Phillips


Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with First Step for nearly 5 years. This wonderful organization provides help to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and works to promote peaceful homes and families and healthy relationships. It is staffed with some of the most dedicated, caring individuals I have ever had the honor to meet. I cannot praise this organization, its people, or its vital work too highly.

First Step is tireless in supporting its mission. In addition to their "regular" work of running a 24-hour help-line for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, counseling and advocating for victims, providing temporary shelter and assistance, and educating the community, they have undertake several huge projects in the past few years. They recently completed a capital campaign to finance a new "Family Center", a shelter to safely house victims of domestic violence and their children who are trying to leave their abusive environments. They have also instituted a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, which allows rape victims to have professional forensic exams at a First Step facility. This provides a caring, supportive environment after the trauma of a sexual assault, while facilitating the collection of evidence to prosecute the attacker.

The miracle of First Step is that it manages to provide all these services with such limited full-time staff and funding. By actively and effectively engaging the community, it manages to stretch its limited resources and provide an amazing level of service. It runs a well-organized volunteer program, whereby volunteers are trained and utilized to supplement its full-time workforce by staffing the 24-hour hotline, responding to crisis calls, nurturing children from abusive households, staffing information booths, etc.. It also coordinates a number of community fundraising activities, to provide the resources necessary to continue its vital work.

Peaceful homes are the building-blocks to a peaceful society. Everyone deserves to be safe in their own home, at the very minimum. It is absolutely critical to break the cycle of domestic violence and abusive relationships which pervades our society. First Step is doing its utmost to ensure that this happens.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

First Step has empowered victims of domestic violence to improve their lives. They provide housing when needed for the abused victims and their children as well as counseling, clothes and food. Their staff and volunteers work endless hours raising the funds needed to provide this service. They should all be commended!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The employees of United Home Health Services, a not-for-profit home care company located in Canton Michigan, donated $600 worth of clothes and gift cards to First Step in December 2010 as part of their annual community outreach. "Our employees have seen First Step in action and have attended several of their events and we are always impressed with the vast array of services this organization provides" notes UHHS President Penny Rhein. "The leadership, passion, and dedication of First Step employees and volunteers is awe-inspiring. We whole-heartedly support their mission!"

Client Served

Rating: 5

First Step gave me the grounding in rebuilding my life from scratch after receiving my gender based asylum as a victim of domestic violence. Their various services helped me get my self esteem and confidence back to become a non-traditional student at Wayne State University Law School and now currently help set up Solution Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Court (SODVPC) under 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County, MI. The counseling that I received helped me see my own potential and work towards being a change that I want other survivors to see. I want to personify Gandhi's saying "You must be the change you want to see in the world." If others can see what I am able to accomplish with the help of First Step, I believe that other survivors will be inspired to achieve their own potential and rebuild their shattered lives.