Volunteers are essential in helping Empower Yolo fulfill its mission.  Since the pandemic Empower Yolo has successfully resumed its peer counselor training (PCT) program over the last few years; the agency aims to continue to rebuild and strengthen its network of volunteers to help support the agency and better serve the community.

“Volunteers play a vital role at Empower Yolo as they contribute their time, compassion, and expertise to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking,” says Ariel Inocencio Madrigal, Empower Yolo Community Engagement Specialist. “Their dedication allows us to offer essential services such as our 24-hour crisis line, legal advocacy, community outreach, and more,” adds Madrigal.

Empower Yolo volunteers dedicate hours of service by answering our 24-hour crisis line, educating students about violence prevention, and providing outreach to the community to inform them of our services. They offer peer counseling to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Volunteers also help with food distribution and assist with many of our youth and children’s programs throughout Yolo County. Volunteers provide program support and make up our Board of Directors.  They are professionals, business leaders, residents of our community, and college students.  Our volunteers are compassionate and trained advocates who improve the overall health of the clients and families Empower Yolo serves.

“Volunteering with Empower Yolo offers a unique opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of survivors and families in need in our community. Our volunteers have many opportunities to grow personally and professionally while making a positive impact on our community,” says Madrigal.

Volunteer opportunities at Empower Yolo may include answering the 24-hour crisis line; prevention education (throughout Yolo County); children’s program (at the confidential safe house); community outreach through tabling (throughout Yolo County); Marriage and Family Therapy/ Master of Social Work internships (for graduate students who want to become counselors and need to complete an internship with a human services agency); administrative duties; clothing closet; special events, such as fundraising and event planning; and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) events/programs.

All advocates and crisis line volunteers complete an intensive training program before working on the crisis line or at the safe house.  All volunteers must be at least 18 years old and complete our 74-hour PCT. We offer this training twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Our Fall 2023 PCT which begins in October will be a 5 week hybrid training model with virtual and in-person presentations, as well as weekly asynchronous assignments.

Volunteers who complete our PCT program will gain valuable experience in peer counseling, case management, advocacy, and education. Volunteers will receive a certificate of completion in sexual assault and domestic violence training. Through this training, you will gain the knowledge and skills needed to support survivors, contribute to prevention efforts, and participate in building a better future for our community through meaningful engagement.

To apply submit your completed application and resume to Ariel Madrigal, the Community Engagement Specialist at [email protected]; If your application is accepted, you will be invited to attend a group orientation and interview to learn more. Invitation to the training program will only be issued after a successful interview and thorough background check. Please note that space is limited, and spots are not guaranteed. Applications are due Sunday, September 17, 2023. For more information on training dates, and fees, and to download an application visit empoweryolo.org/volunteer/.

“We are seeking dedicated people who will complete the training and will volunteer for various important roles at Empower Yolo such as working on the crisis line which is a priority for us,” says Celina Alveraz, Empower Yolo Associate Director.

Volunteers who complete PCT will have the opportunity to assist with Empower Yolo’s 24-hour crisis line, peer counseling, emergency shelters, children’s programs, prevention education, community outreach, and legal advocacy. Volunteers who do not wish to complete PCT are welcome to assist with our special events or at our free clothing closet.

For questions about volunteering, or to complete a peer counselor application, please contact Ariel Madrigal at [email protected], call (530) 661-6336, or visit empoweryolo.org/volunteer/.

If you or someone you know would like to make a positive impact on the lives of others through violence prevention or intervention work, such as peer counseling, youth empowerment, and community outreach, consider volunteering at Empower Yolo. Join us in expanding and reinforcing our volunteer network to better support our community. Your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can offer to those in need.

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