Empower Yolo supporters are awesome. They come to us as donors, sponsors and volunteers from many different backgrounds. They give from their hearts and donate their time and money to help Empower Yolo clients whether it’s listening on the crisis hotline, providing comfort to a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking, serving on the board of directors, donating toiletry items or clothing, or helping a client with taxes.
In 2019, Empower Yolo volunteers assisted clients and families in need giving 6,100 hours across our programs and services. We invite you to join us in making a difference in the lives of thousands of women, children, men and families in our community. There are many opportunities to support our clients and give back to our community in very meaningful ways.
Serve on the Board of Directors – Empower Yolo’s board of directors is a dedicated group committed to guiding and leading Empower Yolo to further its mission of promoting safe healthy and resilient communities. The board’s role is to support the mission of the organization by providing leadership, oversight, guidance, and fundraising support. The board also assists our Executive Director, Lynnette Irlmeier and the entire staff to ensure we serve our clients in a manner that appreciates, enhances, and utilizes their strengths and honors their cultural practices and traditions.
“Communities thrive when people are safe and have their basic needs met,” says Evan Schmidt, Empower Yolo Board Co-Chair. “Without Empower Yolo, this would not be the case for many communities in Yolo County. Empower Yolo keeps families safe from violence, including helping people in crisis; helping with needs, like clothing, food, and basic necessities; and providing services that make life better for many – including after school programs, legal services, and counseling. Empower Yolo serves our communities to help make all safe, healthy, and resilient,” says Schmidt. As one of the new co-chairs of the board Schmidt is committed to advancing Empower Yolo’s mission. “I am committed to supporting the good work of the organization, strengthening Empower Yolo’s ability to serve the communities, and increasing the profile, visibility, and resources of Empower Yolo,” says Schmidt.
This year’s directors along with Schmidt are Linda Moore, Co-Chair; Peggy Bernardy, Vice-Chair; Richard Rose, Treasurer; Lindsay Guthrie, Secretary; and board members Sheri Atkinson, Sam Alavi, Sara Blair-Medeiros, Dennis Dahlin, Danielle Martinez, Magalean Martin, and Lori Nelson. For more information on becoming a board member or for an application go to: empoweryolo.org/board-of-directors/, or contact [email protected].
Become a volunteer with Empower Yolo – Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Each year, Empower Yolo volunteers assist over 2,000 callers on our 24-hour crisis hotline. Volunteers staff the hotline, provide program support, outreach, advocacy, help with special events and fundraising, and so much more. They are professionals, business leaders, and residents of our community.
Empower Yolo Volunteer Coordinator, Gaby Guzman speaks to the important work Empower Yolo does in our community through help with volunteers. “Yolo County has and still continues to see high rates of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking,” says Guzman. “As an agency, we have taken a stand to say it’s not enough for us to speak on these issues, but we have to take the initiative to make sure we are working towards ending this violence. Empower Yolo is the only agency in Yolo County that has made it possible to do intervention work for survivors, but also prevention work for our youth through the partnerships we have built throughout the county. These partnerships have allowed us to provide community members many resources for free. Empower Yolo has done incredible work providing services that would otherwise not be here, such as our restraining order clinics and therapy which tends to cost a lot of money and ends up being inaccessible to many people” says Guzman.
All advocates and crisis line volunteers complete an intensive 72-hour training program prior to working on the hotline. Join our upcoming spring peer counselor training (PCT), which begins April 13. For more information on PCT and to download an application go to: empoweryolo.org/volunteer/. Applications are due Thursday, April 2, 2020 by 11:59 p.m.
Other ways to get involved: Community members have given back in fun and meaningful ways through their regular life activities.
Organize a drive to provide a need – In January Empower Yolo organized a community-wide drive to collect toiletry items to make rescue backpacks for human trafficking survivors. One local Hawk Patrol Group, Troop 66 organized its own drive in recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month led by fourteen year old August DeGagne and troop parent, Mishalla Amendolara. “We did the drive to help people that have been involved in human trafficking and domestic abuse so they have essential comfort items. Our patrol wanted to do a service project to help survivors,” says DeGagne. The patrol led their own meeting to discuss issues around human trafficking and collect comfort items. The troop learned that many individuals that are subject of human trafficking or domestic abuse are receiving the help that they need through Empower Yolo. It was important for DeGagne and Amendolara to raise awareness about human trafficking for their troop and inspire them to support anti-trafficking efforts. “Awareness is going to start making a safer community for this generation and for the next generation,” says DeGagne.
Empower Yolo runs awareness months in January (Human Trafficking Awareness Month), February (Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month), April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), and October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month). Lead your group to raise awareness and help survivors in need.
Encourage others to give – For her fourteenth birthday local teen Sabrina Hazel requested that family and friends donate to Empower Yolo in lieu of birthday presents. “I had the opportunity to volunteer at the shelter one evening during the holiday season. My experience that evening changed me, and how I think about kids in need in my own community. So on my 14th birthday, I decided that instead of getting presents that I don’t need, I wanted to raise as much money as possible for the kids at the shelter,” says Hazel. Since her experience at the shelter, Hazel continues to be one of our youngest active supporters; she also organized her peer helping group at school to “Adopt a Family” during the holidays. “I support Empower Yolo because I was able to see first hand the impact their support gives to these families who have been through so much trauma. We’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a community like Davis, and supporting Empower Yolo provides an opportunity for youths to give back to youths who are not as fortunate,” says Hazel. With the funds raised from her birthday the shelter staff will be able to celebrate some of the children’s birthdays, and host a movie night for all the children at the shelter.
Host a party benefitting Empower Yolo – In February, Kim Eichorn of Lyon Realty hosted a Valentine party for 50 women at the Davis Wine Bar in downtown Davis. She encouraged guests to make a donation to Empower Yolo in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. “Valentine’s Day and its off-shoot ‘Galentine’s Day’ conjures up thoughts of love and friendship and for this reason I thought Empower Yolo was the right non-profit to support,” says Eichorn. The event helped gather friends together and raise awareness about Empower Yolo’s mission in the community. The party was fun and a huge success. “I enjoy gathering groups of people together for a cause. It was my pleasure to do this, and I plan to do it again next year!” says Eichorn.
There are so many wonderful opportunities to get involved from becoming a volunteer to hosting your own fun, meaningful event with your friends, scout troop or organization; the possibilities are endless. This spring get involved with Empower Yolo and renew your commitment to giving back in our community. Join our network of awesome supporters in this opportunity to give in some way with your financial resources or time. Together, we can continue to provide a safety net throughout our county to catch individuals in need, to connect them with resources to keep them safe, healthy and resilient.
To learn more about Empower Yolo, volunteer opportunities, or to donate go to empoweryolo.org.