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Be the Change: Volunteer!

At Blackburn Center, volunteers are critical to our organization. Not only did volunteers start Blackburn Center

in 1976, but they 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 and other forms of violence in Westmoreland County. Because Blackburn Center is focused on both victim services and community outreach, 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 forty-three 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 intimate partner 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 violence or crime 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 violence in our community.

We are currently recruiting volunteers for fall 2019, seeking people who are interested in the following opportunities:

  • Responding directly to the needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes

  • Hotline counseling

  • Accompaniment for victims in local hospital emergency departments and through court/legal proceedings

  • Shelter support

  • Community engagement

  • Speakers’ Bureau: present information about Blackburn Center’s services and mission to community groups and organizations in Westmoreland County, and staff information tables at community-wide events and fairs.

  • FAME: Fearless Advocacy for Men’s Engagement: for men who have demonstrated a willingness to be involved in ending gender-based violence.

  • Women as Allies: for women who want to explore what more they can do to be allies to victims of gender-based violence.

  • Legislative advocacy: support Blackburn Center’s public policy/legislative advocacy outreach.

  • Event support: staffing at Blackburn Center’s annual event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and other community events.

To learn more, contact us or fill out a volunteer application via our website. If you're unable to volunteer at this time, but want to support our work, financial donations are especially appreciated. We also maintain a list of items needed for our emergency shelter, which can also be purchased through our Amazon wishlist and shipped directly to our office. We appreciate your support!

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