I started volunteering with Sojourner Center 2 years ago continue to be impressed by how committed everyone involved with Sojourner Center is to their vision. They have put together a great team of leadership, staff, and volunteers with very different strengths that work together to help them reach their goals.
Sojourner Center is a place of peace, healing and harmony. Its success is a reflection of the mission driven and fiscally responsible staff led by a visionary executive director, Connie Phillips. Their example of cooperation and compassion has spilled over into the community and attracted volunteers, board members and supporters who also place the mission of overcoming the impact of domestic violence one life at a time above any other personal agendas. I have never served on a board with a better group of people. Each one comes with a unique strength and all are ready to roll up their sleeves to put their strengths to work. Sojourner Center should serve as a model of how to run a non-profit right.
I turned to Sojourner in 1991, when I was in an abusive relationship. I went to their weekly group sessions until it finally sunk in - that I am a valuable person who does not deserve to be physically or mentally mistreated. I am very proud to say that I have not been involved in an abusive relationship since then and I attribute that to what I learned in their meetings. Several years later, I donated 17 hand-made ladies suits to the Sojourner Center Store on McDowell. They were made by my Mother, who was abused by my Father for 25 years until she finally got the courage to walk away. I knew it's what Mom would have wanted. Thank you SO MUCH, Sojourner Center, for saving my life!!
While working at Sojourner, I learned more about myself from the women and children I worked with at that time, then ever before. This was the most rewarding experience I have every had a work place. The management's ability to bring to the employes the same work the women do, is what allows for the growth in all who share in the mission of Sojourner Center. My sincere thanks go out to the staff, leaders, administration and most of all the women and children who have made me a better person today.
Acceptance, understanding and empowerment are the three best adjectives I can use to describe what I feel when I walk through the gates at any of Sojourner Center's campuses. I have been a Vanguard (volunteer) at SC going on four years and have seen many transformations, including my own. I appreciate the level of commitment that is consistent throughout the staff, participants and Vanguards. Everyone from the director to the woman who just walked through the gates for the first time are all on a level playing field and I see this as a key element to Sojourner Center's success as an organization. Another key element Sojourner Center embraces is that they offer constant opportunities for choice as part of their empowerment model. Whatever a woman may choose as a path for for herself and her children, she is never judged. I am proud to support Sojourner Center and play an active role in overcoming the impact of domestic violence, one life at a time throughout our community.
I learned of Sojourner from a friend who is a survivor in 1993. I have been amazed year after year by the lives saved, the children healed, the families able to rebuild that might otherwise have no "normalcy". We hear the stories every day about the statistics but at Sojourner I see the faces. I am inspired by the dedication of the staff and the leadership but what I find most amazing are the women themselves. The stories of hopelessness transformed into passion for the future. These women and children given a safe environment blossom in front of your eyes. Each year I rededicate myself to serving in any way I can. My life is richer because of these women and children and this haven called Sojourner.
When I first came to Sojourner Center I was in an abusive relationship but didn't realize it. After working here I able to identify the abuse in my relationship, leave the relationship and look forward to beginning a new healthy one. I went to Sojourner Center looking for a job where I could help people. I never expected Sojourner Center to transform my life completely.
I was introduced to Sojourner Center when researching organizations after finishing my degree. I came to work for Sojourner Center to help others and didn't realize the vast impact this decision would have in my own life. Working in finance I was immediately impressed with how conscientious the organization was with their finances and how being good stewards of donor funds was/is always a factor when making financial decisions. Once settled into my position I began to see more of the organization and the impact it has in the lives of the women and children in shelter as well as the community it serves. It was difficult to hear the stories of the women and I would often go home exhausted and in tears as I tried to digest everything. A friend once asked me why I continued when things touched me so much and I thought a lot about it before I answered her. I finally called her and told her that I am so fortunate because although I hear and see things that my mind does not want to register I also get to see, meet and talk to some of the most wonderful individuals within this community who share their stories, time, money and lives to ensure this work continues. Some of these individuals have personal experience while others just feel passionate about the cause but all are kind, compassionate, empathetic and wonderful individuals that I am so lucky to have the experience of meeting or just hearing about. Some of these individuals have also personally inspired me to deal with my own issues and, although a very private person, I am learning and finding empowerment in the tools taught to the women that help me in my own life as I struggle to find peace from a past that I have tried my whole life to forget and escape. Every life has value and every life is important no matter the size, age or gender and everyone deserves to understand this. Our mission statement is “Overcoming the impact of Domestic Violence One Life at a Time” and I know that Sojourner will continue to work at touching the lives of the women and children at shelter as well as the lives of our very generous donors, community members and employees.
My name is Ed, I have done maintenance for sojourner for about 7 months now. The mission of this organization is what drove me to them. Here at Sojourner what is said and done is aligned with the porpuse, the main focus and dedication of efforts are guided to empower the victims of domestic violence. This is not a pitty club, we do provide the tools and means to put real people back to the real world with its challenges, face the issues, get prepare and overcome obstacles.
I learned about Sojourner Center in 2007, when I was going through my own personal experience with domestic violence. My stay at Sojourner Center was the beginning of my own journey toward freedom from my abusive relationship, and personal empowerment. Their empowerment philosophy and the classes they offer Domestic Violence, Safety Planning, and Life Skills not only helped me to gain the skills to change my life, but inspired me to continue my education, and come back to work at Sojourner Center. I love my job, and the people who work here. I love knowing that we are supporting women and children who are leaving abusive situations and creating new lives for themselves and their families.
I am a survivor of child abuse, and so I always wanted to work with and for families impacted by domestic violence. I have been with Sojourner Center for 3 years, first as a Victim Advocate, (doing direct services with the families that come to our shelter). For the past two years, I have been working with the administrative team. Working at Sojourner has been one of the most empowering experiences for me. Our supervisors/directors team at Sojourner truly "practice what they preach" and always urges us employees to do the same. I truly feel that working here is not only healing for the families that we serve, but healing for me as well. It is especially encouraging to see so many women in leadership roles at Sojourner. Employees here at Sojourner are encouraged to be "authentic". I have worked for many non-profit organizations that have been unable to TRULY inspire their employees they way Sojourner has. To work for a place that is led by powerful and inspiring women who encourages me to be "Authentic", is truly rare.
As an employee, I have had some difficulties in my personal life, and my supervisors have extended so much support for me. That’s when I realized “wow, they really care about me as a PERSON.”To give concrete examples of what makes Sojourner so special is the core values that are the underpinning of all of our operations. These core values rage from deliberate use of language to how we transform interpersonal conflict with co-workers. As employees we receive weekly training on topics pertaining to creating and maintaining an empowering life environment. The same thing that we as an agency teach the families we serve, we learn as well. For example, the administrative staff are currently attending a seminar called "DV 101" and it has been so eye opening to me, as a survivor of child abuse and an a compassionate employee. I can go on and on with examples, but this is just a slice of why I am so proud to be a part of Sojourner. I hope that my story can give you a glimpse of the joy, pride & appreciation I feel when I come to work every day.