The Kalamazoo YWCA is looking for volunteers to help victims of sexual abuse. It will hold “supportive volunteer” training sessions September 15 and 16. The volunteers work with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program to help survivors through medical examinations following a sexual assault.
Kalamazoo YWCA Victim Services Director Cathy Brown says volunteers help people in a time of crisis. And she says they need to be prepared for the experience.
"The supportive volunteer sits with the survivor through the nurse examination. We want them to know what that's going to look like. So we introduce them to the police who go out and make the initial calls. We have them talk about the legal piece of it. And we have nurses come in and walk them through that process."
Brown says volunteers make a year-long commitment and must work at least three shifts a month. Volunteer positions are open to anyone but they must complete an online application, a background check, and an interview before attending the training sessions.
Mallory Kruizenga is a sexual assault victim advocate at the YWCA who coordinates the program. She says supportive Volunteers have a difficult job. But Kruizenga says helping those in need is worth it.
"I just want to encourage everybody that anybody can do this. And it's a very hard reward, but it's worth it at the end of the day."
Call the Kalamazoo YWCA at (269) 345-5595, extension 341, for more information about the program.