Happy New Year again to our volunteers! We had several new volunteers who attended the meeting and it was wonderful to see and hear their enthusiasm. Donna started the meeting with a very inspirational, interactive prayer and then continued to show appreciation for all our volunteers. She spoke about the fact that we would be holding training sessions in a few months time.
Even though volunteers have to be trained to do Hotline Duty or Rape Advocacy, they are welcome to attend meetings and to become involved in other activities, such as fund raising and conscious raising projects.
Alison, that’s me!, went on to thank those volunteers who take on Hotline Duty for the entire weekend. It really helps the Administrator who would otherwise have to come into the office to deprogram and reprogram the phone over the weekend. We were also reminded that a new resource list needs to be given to Hotline volunteers.
I also let people know about this blog and encouraged comments (none yet, I see!) as we need to know how volunteers feel about the Centre and in what ways we could improve. I also let volunteers know about the forum attached to the website. Maudlin suggested that, if we add a teen section to the forum, we could advertise it in the schools in the hope that young persons would feel comfortable in expressing their concerns.
New volunteers asked very interesting and pertinent questions about the services we offer and were given an overview of what we try to sustain. Some services, such as Domestic Violence Advocacy, need to be rejuvenated but that depends on our personnel resources. New Volunteers also were interested in the return of group counselling. However, that depends upon the availability of clients who are comfortable sharing their experiences and concerns with other clients.
We talked about the need for confidentiality so that clients feel safe and comfortable coming to the Centre for counselling. We also discussed unconditional acceptance of clients and their behaviour so that we can offer compassionate and respectful counselling, regardless of religious beliefs, sexual orientation and cultural differences. It is most important that clients feel accepted when they share their most personal feelings, fears and concerns.
Commitment too, is very important so that we can continue and expand our projects. We cannot do anything without the support of our volunteers!
As to plans for 2009, apart from training, Donna would like the Centre to hold monthly meetings to discuss issues such as parenting. She would also like to see a column in the newspaper on a regular basis which would give the Centre more presence in the community.
Chakira talked about the possibility of having a Fashion Show and Expo. This has always been a successful project in the past and she gathered names of those who would be interested in joining a Committee to look at Fund Raising in general.
Althesia hopes for a monthly speaker to present at each meeting. This is done regularly but unfortunately some speakers do not turn up. She also initiated a teddy bear drive some time ago whereby teddies and other soft toys are available to be given to young clients when they come in for counselling. She also suggested that each volunteer brings food items to each meeting automatically and without being asked for such items.
We all considered the meeting to be a great success and it is hoped that the new volunteers will continue to attend meetings and become involved in activities organized by the Centre.
Have a peaceful, safe and happy month!