HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH CCWRC?
I took a class called sexual and domestic violence (Criminology 423) during my junior year at Penn State taught by Professor Caren Bloom. This class made me realize that I wanted my future career to be devoted to helping end sexual and domestic violence and I was inspired to get involved as a college student. After doing some research about CCWRC, I knew that I wanted to get involved with the organization so I took the volunteer training class over the summer. Since then, I have been volunteering on the hotline and I started interning in January.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR INTERNSHIP?
All of the staff members at the CCWRC are so friendly and welcoming. It is truly enjoyable working in such a positive environment and I am learning so much from everyone. The work is challenging and there is never a normal day, but everyone always has a positive attitude and they are more than willing to help me if I have any question.
A huge part of my internship is answering the phone, which can be overwhelming because you never know who is going to be on the other line. For example, sometimes I pick up the phone and it is an emergency crisis call while other times I might simply have to transfer the call to a staff member. Either way, because of the training and overwhelming support from the staff and other volunteers, I feel confident in my abilities to give people the support and information that they need.
WHAT DO YOU WISH THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY KNEW ABOUT CCWRC?
The volunteers at the CCWRC put their hearts and souls into this work. They fill the crisis hotline and go to the hospital to advocate for victims of sexual assault almost entirely when the office is closed. The work that they do is truly invaluable.
WHAT MIGHT SOMEONE BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I run marathons and am currently training to run in the Boston Marathon this April. I am also a huge book nerd, so I often listen to audiobooks during my runs. When I ran my first marathon in Philadelphia two years ago, I actually listened to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban during the race!
YOU WERE CCWRC’S HONORARY COACH AT COQUESE’S DRIVE THANK YOU GAME THIS YEAR, HOW WAS THAT EXPERIENCE?
Being the honorary coach was a fantastic experience, even though I don’t know much about basketball! I had the opportunity to meet the Lady Lions, watch them warm-up, sit with the coaches and the team during the game, and even attend the press conference after the game. The best part was before the game when I gave the team a pep talk in the locker room. I actually didn’t realize that I was supposed to give the pep talk, so it was a complete shock when coach Coquese said she was looking forward to hearing me speak to the team. I am so glad that I didn’t know about it beforehand because I get really nervous about public speaking. I ended up talking about volunteering at the CCWRC and how athletes are part of the movement in ending sexual violence on college campuses. Although I could not relate to playing basketball, I was able to connect to them about being passionate about a cause and being a Penn State student. It was also funny to high five them before the game when they were walking to the court because they are all so tall and I had to jump so that I could reach them!
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT VOLUNTEERING FOR CCWRC?
Volunteering for CCWRC has easily been the paramount decision that I have made as a college student; I met incredible and passionate people and learned so much about myself. It is a huge time commitment, but it is worth every second because the volunteers really do positively impact the community and make a huge difference. It is not merely volunteering once a year at a bake sale: it is volunteering regularly and doing hard work to help others during crisis. I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful organization and I know that I will carry what I have learned here with me for the rest of my life.
Gillian Wood is a Senior at Penn State majoring in Criminology, Sociology and Women’s Studies and a CCWRC volunteer counselor/advocate. In January 2014, she became an intern at CCWRC. This summer Gillian will begin a position in Hawaii at Teach for America.
by Sarah Kern, Prevention Educator