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Volunteers Make the Difference

At Blackburn Center, volunteers are absolutely vital to our success. The reason is simple: not only did volunteers start Blackburn Center in 1976, but volunteers continue to provide thousands of hours of service each year. It is through these volunteers that we are able to strive towards our mission of ending domestic and sexual violence in Westmoreland County. Because Blackburn Center is focused on both victim services and community services, our volunteers have plenty of choices when it comes to what type of work they would like to do. No special educational background is required to volunteer at Blackburn Center; most of our volunteers don’t have backgrounds in social work or psychology. Over the past thirty-eight years, we have had volunteers from all walks of life — students, teachers, business professionals, homemakers or retirees. The one thing that they all have in common? They all want to make a difference in their community. Volunteers who work with clients are required to attend a comprehensive training program that focuses on the development of active listening and empowerment counseling skills, as well as an understanding of the issues commonly faced by victims and those who care about them. Once trained, our volunteers can do any number of jobs. Our hotline (724-836-1122 or 1-888-832-2272) is open 24 hours day, 7 days a week; our volunteers help to make sure that someone is always available to answer those calls. We also have an emergency shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence, where volunteers help us by reading to the children or performing other tasks.

With the help of these volunteers, we can continue to serve all victims of domestic and sexual violence in Westmoreland County. Many of our services are provided to the community at large, not just directly to clients. Volunteers may stage the agency’s information table at healh fairs, or educate the community through our speakers’ bureau. This work is just as vital as working directly with clients — after all, if we don’t educate the community, we will never be able to reach our goal of ending domestic and sexual violence in our community. Clearly, we couldn’t do what we do without YOUR help. So from all of us at Blackburn Center — thank you, volunteers! You are making a difference, and changing lives. We salute you!

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