Bless’s Experience with Volunteers of America

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My group began the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative also known as YPI in January 2014 and our service project ended in the very end of April. The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is a program for kids to choose a social issue that is present in their community. My group chose to research the topic of domestic violence. A few of us knew people who had been affected by this social issue, and thought the topic was interesting to pursue. As we conducted research on domestic violence through various internet sources such as the New York City Library Archives, we were able to learn more about the topic issues surrounding it, it’s effects and causes and a non-profit organization to support. Over the course of a few months I learned more about the topic my group chose. When we chose our social issue we knew the basics of the issue such as women are usually abused by their male partner and some run away due to the physical and verbal harm while others stay in their position. I never really thought about the children’s role in this situation or why the mother/woman would stay if she was still in some type of harm.

When we visited our non-profit organization, Volunteers of America, they had us sit in a room and explained what they did for the survivors who came to their safe house. They explained the restrictions put on families and the reasons behind a woman staying in harm’s reach, and the children’s role in these situations. From the woman’s perspective sometimes the man is very threatening or has all of the money/power over their child or is just generally overpowering his partner. In this situation the woman would feel that she has no escape and that she would not be able to financially provide for her child or keep herself safe even if she does escape from her abuser. The child’s role could be very important in these situations. The child is usually confused in this situation because they no longer have the same home, doctors, school, friends, family or privileges they had with the other parent who might not have hurt their child. Thus, I have learned more about the struggle that women, men and children experience in a domestic violence case. And how they have to think about their options in advance, while before I believed it was much more simple to leave your partner when any abuse was involved in the relationship.

Besides learning many interesting and frightening statistics and information my group worked on a Powerpoint presentation where we would explain our knowledge on the topic and our non-profit organization. Some skills that we needed for this portion of the project was to be able to organize and manage time and information. My group had five other members who all needed a portion of the Powerpoint to be completed. We had to distribute and organize a Powerpoint presentation where everyone had an equal amount of work to complete and knew what they were talking about. I also had to gain the skill of public speaking and confidence. To memorize the topic I had to present by making eye contact with the audience and to have the ability to answer questions from the judges. I had to learn to keep my voice clear, my eyes on the audience, and the presentation intriguing for everyone.

However, the project was difficult in different ways. The organization of the group was difficult to achieve with six total members. When we had to organize a site visit with our non-profit organization we had to find a time and day when we were all available, which took a few days to plan. It was also difficult to find a time when we all shared in order to practice our presentation rather than memorize the part on our own and hope for the best during the presentation. However, when we had finally finished the presentation before the judges I was not only relieved, but proud of the months work. It was very rewarding to be knowledgeable about a topic we knew so little about to begin with, and to meet with a large organization and complete an experience not many people could have. It was rewarding to see the final product and present the organized it before an audience hopefully giving them new information about our topic and inspiring them to help the cause.

The non-profit organization that my group chose was Volunteers of America. This organization has many different programs besides domestic violence all over the United States of America. Their organization is based largely off of volunteers who donate their time to their programs. In order to volunteer your time to the organization you have to fill out a form and help out with any of their programs. I was interested in the domestic violence programs that the organization had including giving children in shelters school supplies, and another program which was a once a month birthday party for all the children in that month, they usually need volunteers to give party supplies, present, and offer games and activities. I hope to volunteer my time among other programs to aid the organization in the future.

 

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