Laurel House http://laurel-house.org/
Triple clearance is required: Criminal, Child Abuse and FBI
Training for working with children who have been affected by domestic abuse will be scheduled in September. It is usually 3 hours in the evening. When a woman comes to the shelter she is fleeing from a dangerous situation looking for a safe place. She has about 30 days to get herself together and make major decisions about what she can do next, where she can go etc. It can get more complicated when she has kids with her. During her stay we have group counselling, family nights, outside counselling session, resume writing and interview skill sessions, goal planning, yoga classes, parenting classes etc. During these times we feel it is best for her to attend without any distraction from the kids. This is where you come in.
Volunteers will watch the kids, provide them with safe, learning and structured environment. Moms can attend the meeting knowing her kids are in good hands and can focus on the meeting. The kids know that they are safe, can play with the volunteers and get to test what they can get away with. J
Here is an example, a few weeks ago the kids told a volunteer that they never had to clean up after their messes and the previous volunteer used to take care of cleaning up after them. J I would say bring your playful but firm attitude. Get down to their level and play various interactive games, at the same time be firm when you know something is not right. I can tell you from personal experience a small smile goes a long way. There are always staff around if you have any questions. (Kiran Devanath—Volunteer Coordinator--f Laurel House)
2 students each night
Interact with children while mothers are in support groups (maximum 2 volunteers)
The number of children vary from week to week as Laurel House is temporary Shelter.
What students say about training and working at Laurel House
This training helped to alert me to the huge societal issue of domestic violence that often goes under the radar in terms of social justice as a more broad term
I was able to have meaningful conversations with the women who work in the office of laurel house and understand better what the kids are going through. This allowed me to be a better volunteer to the children because they have different needs than other kids.
The training taught me rules/protocol/legislature, but also reminded me to be available as a human and tap into the elements of empathy and understanding
I did child care while the mothers were in counseling. It was centered on giving the children time to play and have fun but also learn and work to overcome the trauma they may have endured.