Each month the Rape Recovery Center spotlights one of our incredible volunteers to highlight their outstanding service to the center. Our team of over 100 volunteers have given over 6,000 hours in 2018. These hours of service amount to over $72,000 in in-kind donations, and we cannot thank our volunteers enough for their incredible service.
For the month of October, we are excited to spotlight Paola Sepulveda. Paola completed our volunteer training in May 2018 and has been volunteering with our agency since that time. Paola has worked with our Outreach and Access Team to provide outreach weekly at the Mexican Consulate, where she has provided critical information and resources to this important community. To learn more about Paola, read on.
What motivated you to become a volunteer at the Rape Recovery Center (RRC)?
A good friend told me the RRC was in need of Spanish speaking volunteers so I enrolled in the 40 hour training and loved everything I learned. I became passionate about wanting to work with survivors and advocate for them. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and also make better use of my free time.
What have you enjoyed most about your time as a RRC volunteer?
Having conversations with people you would have never met otherwise, and [working with the] Latinx community when volunteering at the Mexican Consulate talking about consent and sexual abuse, [which are often] unspoken of and taboo issues.
What is most challenging about your volunteer work at the RRC?
Rejection. When people don't want to inform themselves or even hear you out about rape culture, abuse, domestic violence, mental health, or other serious topics that can only be helped and improved through education and awareness.. it's pretty tough.
Tell us a little more about how you spend your time outside of volunteering for the RRC - hobbies, passions, work, school?
Preparing to be a mom at the end of this year, love spending time with my spousal unit. I am working on my Bachelor's in Social Work and eventually my Master's and I really just love my dogs (Husky & German Shepherd). When not pregnant- I love running outside and playing soccer.
You have immersed yourself in the very difficult work of addressing sexual violence. What gives you hope as you approach this work?
The people that don't know but are willing to get educated on the topic and are willing to educate others on their way. That gives me hope. Even the people that just lend an ear and are willing to listen - that gives me hope that there are people that really do care and want to make a difference.
What is your message to others looking to get involved in this work, or considering volunteer work at the RRC?
Don't think too hard about wanting to get involved or the "time commitment" because it will throw you off. Honestly don't think twice about it, just do it and you will see how your life changes and has more meaning. You don't know all the good you can do until you get started.
On behalf of all of us at the Rape Recovery Center we thank Paola for dedicating her time and talents to the center, and for her commitment to ending sexual violence!
If you are interested in joining the Rape Recovery Center's volunteer team, visit our volunteer page here to learn more.