There are many great agencies in Yolo County where you can get involved and serve the community. Empower Yolo welcomes applications from community members to serve on its board of directors to make a real difference in the lives of our clients and a meaningful impact in our community.
“It is so rewarding to help those who feel they have nowhere to turn, to help our most vulnerable feel safe and that there is hope,” says Linda Moore, Empower Yolo board co-chair.
Empower Yolo has been supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking for over 44 years. Services include: emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis line, legal services, counseling services, transitional housing services and clothing closet. Merging with the Center for Families in 2015 has further allowed the agency to provide wraparound services to clients and families in need such as food distribution, services for the homeless, health care enrollment, immigration services, youth services, financial empowerment services, tax support and so much more. Over the years the agency has grown to better serve the community.
“I think we are making a big difference. Our numbers tell the story. In 2020, 272 survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking received shelter or transitional housing for 15,331 bed nights. 2,723 counseling sessions were provided for 198 adults and 104 children; 307 victims of crime received restraining order assistance; 12,174 service sessions were provided for students in our ASSETs program; 520 people were provided rental assistance and housing support; and our CARE team responded to 119 sexual assault clients, of which 60 were children. These are just a few of our services; many more services were provided even during this unprecedented year, but, frankly, we all long for the day when we have no more cases,” says Moore.
Expanding services over the years has allowed the agency to serve our diverse community. Our board of directors should reflect the diverse population of the County in order to continue to grow and better serve our community.
“We live in an area rich in diversity and in the state that might be the most diverse. A diverse board is so important in understanding not just the problems and issues but the cultural imperatives as well,” says Moore.
Empower Yolo board members are volunteers from many walks of life. Each board member has their own personal story and meaningful connection with Empower Yolo’s mission, which is why it is so important for them to volunteer and give their time. Some board members even come back for additional terms such as Susan Gefter, long time resident of Davis and Empower Yolo board secretary.
“As a board member, I’m particularly proud of Empower Yolo’s outreach as a nonprofit organization providing FREE services to clients during their most vulnerable life experiences. Before joining the board, I was interested in supporting Empower Yolo’s confidential shelter that offers a safe place for traumatized victims of domestic violence and abuse to heal. Domestic violence and abuse affect individuals, especially women and children, in all socio-economic situations. I’ve known many friends who have experienced abuse either personally or in their families. Current policies regarding domestic violence indicate public awareness is increasing and the stigma is less onerous, but victims still need guidance navigating out of the cycle of violence. Empower Yolo has the resources and ability to help and it’s gratifying for me as a board member to be part of this community effort,” says Gefter.
Empower Yolo’s hard working and dedicated board, directors, managers, staff and volunteers continue to adapt to community needs and emergencies in order to support clients and families in need.
“During the pandemic, Empower Yolo stepped up, obtained additional funding and provided emergency wraparound services for clients including housing, health and legal services in conjunction with local governmental agencies throughout Yolo County. Another plus for community members to join the board is learning how local governments can work together with nonprofits to enhance our services,” says Gefter.
The board also has a satellite group that supports Empower Yolo events, which started through Gefter’s network.
“I’m also fortunate to work with the “Friends” of Empower Yolo, a group of local residents who have joined together to help raise essential funds for Empower Yolo. They produced the play ‘Seven’ in Davis and have supported the shelter by hosting several “Showers for the Shelter” asking community members to donate new household and personal hygiene gifts for the shelter’s clients. The Friends have also helped support Empower Yolo’s summer solstice fundraisers over the years by organizing auctions and extending outreach to the local community,” says Gefter.
To join the Friends group, or to donate new items for the shelter, email the Friends at [email protected]. As a board member there are many interesting and creative ways to support the agency. We encourage you to join Empower Yolo and bring your skills, talents and creativity and be an agent of change in our community.
Application process: The Empower Yolo board currently consists of 12 community members. The board’s role is to support the mission of the organization through providing leadership, oversight, guidance, and fundraising support. In recruiting new members, we are seeking:
A commitment to the mission of Empower Yolo; Representation from diverse communities in Yolo County – including survivors, young people, rural areas, formerly homeless, people of color, and other groups who are underrepresented on the board; An orientation towards social justice and commitment to empowerment of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.
Board members attend board meetings, serve on a subcommittee, and seek ways to contribute positively to the advancement of Empower Yolo’s mission. The board of Empower Yolo is committed to conducting business in a manner that appreciates, enhances, and utilizes the strengths of Empower Yolo’s clients and honors their cultural practices and traditions. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and if possible should be submitted by September 13. If you are interested in becoming a board member and have any questions contact: [email protected]. For more information or for a board application visit: empoweryolo.org.
“Serving on the Empower Yolo board is a powerful experience. It’s so easy to get wound up in your own daily dramas; working with the Empower Yolo team brings me back to what’s really important in life,” says Moore. The impact of your service with Empower Yolo will help us further our mission of promoting safe, healthy and resilient communities.