Why Tosha Volunteers!
Volunteering for SARA has proven to be more than I expected, both in time invested and mental dedication. The experience has not only provided me with an opportunity to help others, but to help myself grow. I started with SARA because I wanted to make a difference – I wanted someone to see me as a person wearing a cape flying in the wind. I never realized that I would be the one to find superheroes throughout the experience. Without directly shaking anyone’s hand, I have come across a number of stories that illustrate suffering, survival, and, above all, strength.
When we choose to volunteer, typically we’re choosing to do so for others, but I never expected a volunteer experience to help me. My training, those who are a part of SARA, and those who I been able to help have all taught me to be my own hero. There is a hidden form of therapy in caring for someone else; you start to hear the things you say out loud to a person, helping them cope with trauma, and it all becomes part of your mantra for your own self-healing.
Being part of SARA is no easy task. It’s not something you can wake up and decide you want to do just to say you did it. There are people out there in need of compassion and empathy. With compassion, you can remind someone that people do care and that we aren’t all monsters lurking in the dark. With empathy, you can relate to their pain and give someone the chance to relate in that pain because no one wants to suffer alone.
This task is one that requires time. You must be honest with yourself about your ability to give time out of your day to do this. Your life doesn’t have to stop, but you do have to make conscious decisions for the sake of those who need you. The best part of the time needed is that you get to decide when you are needed, you make your own schedule. No one sits down and decides your day for you. You have the ability to say, “This is when I can be there for someone.” That alone is a benefit to volunteering with SARA. You aren’t restricted to business hours or even hours of operation. If you are slammed during the week, schedule yourself for a weekend. If you’re a student, and you want your weekends for a break, schedule yourself after class when life settles down. Like we tell survivors, you have the power.
Volunteering for SARA has been such an amazing adventure: time commitments aren’t a problem, flexibility is always an option, and helping someone is part of the job. You don’t have to have special skills; you just have to be a great listener. As a volunteer for SARA you give a voice to those who feel voiceless. You give power to those feeling powerless, and, by simply saying, “I believe you,” you give someone hope again.
That’s all anyone ever really needs – a little hope to make it through each day.
Learn more about becoming a Volunteer Crisis Advocate and making a difference in the lives of survivors!