Kate Owen, Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center

The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center (HCWC) is a family violence shelter, sexual assault advocacy center, and a child abuse advocacy center.  I chose HCWC because there are many different branches of the organization that serve different social functions and focus on several cultural values.  According to the HCWC Advocate Training Manual:  “The purpose of the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center is to create an environment where violence and abuse are not tolerated in the communities we serve. The Center will provide education, violence prevention services, and crisis intervention to victims of family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. We will seek the support and resources necessary to achieve this mission.”

The services that HCWC provide to the community include community education on violence and abuse, the 24-hour a day HELPline, and counseling to victims of abuse. The shelter can house ten women and all their children at one time, and in fact, HCWC has space in the shelter for one man, and his children. This is an important feature highlighting that men can easily be victims of family violence, not just women. There is also the HEARTeam, in which community members volunteer to go to local hospitals to give support to recent victims of abuse seeking medical care. HCWC has a child abuse advocacy center, Roxanne’s House, where trained professionals advise children suffering abuse, their families, police, Child Protective Services, and the courts during instances of child abuse.

As an intern for the Development and Community Partnerships (DCP) division at HCWC, I have a wide range of potential duties that include basically any task that my supervisor needs. I do many clerical and office jobs, from filing to computer tasks. As a DCP intern, I also participate in community events. HCWC goes out to health fairs, employee expos, and other events to educate the public on domestic violence. At these community events, tasks include answering questions about HCWC, giving information on ways that people can help at HCWC, signing up potential volunteers, and talking to people about domestic violence.

As an intern I have also done maintenance and other duties around the DCP offices, such as decorating and preparing for in-house events and landscaping around the center. My responsibilities have also included several creative tasks, including putting together an informational board for events, volunteer retention projects, and the writing of HCWC publications. I am also heavily involved in general office duties that keep the center running smoothly; the necessary evil of running several non-profit programs is that there is a lot of paperwork and information to handle.