Volunteering at a women's shelter is one of the best and most productive ways that you could spend your time. Do know, however, that it will certainly demand from you not just your time and your good intentions, but your determination and skill as well. Here are some of the guideilnes to remember if you are interested in volunteering at a women's shelter:
- Find a list of shelters near your area. Of course, it all starts with knowing where to go if you want to volunteer. For information on this matter, contact your local government office (or go to the website), specifically the department of social services or human services; or look up addresses of YWCA offices at the YWCA website. Contact them so you could find out the requirements that you would have to complete.
- Identify your particular strengths and skills that would be helpful in the shelter. It's best that you are specific as possible in listing down how you can contribute to the women's shelter. Are you good at administrative tasks, such as organizing files and schedules? Are you proficient in another language? Are you computer-savvy? Have you had some classes or previous experience related to psychology or social work? List them down. This way, you would be able to pinpoint for yourself how you could best volunteer, plus during your interview you'd be able to specify how you can be an asset to the shelter.
- Be ready for the interview. You would have to go through an interview before your services can be accepted. Typically, shelters are very cautious about who to accept as volunteers, and they would likely assess you on your readiness to possibly be in contact with women who have undergone severe physical and emotional trauma.
- Fill out the necessary forms. You will need to indicate your best schedule for volunteering. You should know that it's best for you commit to a regular schedule (such as specific days of the week), so that people at the shelter will know when they can expect you to be there.
- Be trained. As mentioned, sincere intentions are not enough for volunteering at a women's shelter. It's very important that you are as equipped as possible right at the onset, so that you would be able to truly help out the women. First, read up on books on how to counsel and deal with abused women. You should also find out how you can be an advocate to them.
The shelter you volunteer in might have some training programs and seminars to help you be ready to face the tasks of a volunteer. You might also be a shadow or assistant first to an experienced volunteer or to a full-time shelter personnel.
Remember, volunteering at a local women's shelter will take certainly require your time and effort, but considering that you will be the light that will aid the women at a time that they need help the most, you will find volunteering to be one of the most fulfilling, productive tasks you can ever do. Good luck, and hope this helped!