This summer I was given the opportunity to volunteer for the organization I did my YPI project on, Sanctuary for Families. Sanctuary is New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. I worked in the in-kind donations program where I volunteered in Sanctuary’s main office at their “Butterfly Boutique,” which is a small clothing store that is free for all Sanctuary clients. Volunteers collect new and almost new clothing for children of all ages and adults. They also have everyday essentials such as toiletries.
At Sanctuary all clients are treated with the utmost respect so they try hard to make the Butterfly Boutique look like a real store. I had to help clients find what they needed and try on clothes and also organize and make everything look neat. Interacting with the clients was the best part of volunteering for me because they were all very kind and self sufficient. It showed me that these women are more than just the victims that many label them to be. I also worked on vetting books that Sanctuary could give away to clients and put on their book shelves. Sanctuary needs to be careful about not displaying or giving away books with violence in them because it could easily trigger anxiety or bad memories for a client.
The work I did at Sanctuary was not the most important job, but I loved being there and being able to experience a normal day for the clients and the people who work at Sanctuary. It also allowed the Sanctuary staff to focus their energy on other more important projects. I plan to continue volunteering with Santuary during the school year. I would also like to organize a day during which Friends could volunteer with Sanctuary for Families, because it is an amazing organization and there are many ways in which we can and should help Sanctuary and their clients.