November’s Volunteer of the Month

November’s Volunteer of the Month

We are pleased to introduce you to our November Volunteer of the Month, Jennifer Irwin.

Jennifer is an outstanding citizen in our community and it is our pleasure to recognize her for her contribution to one of our partner agencies—Lifelines Counseling Services—and specifically, its Rape Crisis Program. The Rape Crisis Center provides direct service to sexual assault victims and their families 24/7 using staff and paid volunteers to deliver crisis counseling; support groups; hospital and court presence; advocacy; and community education/training for professionals.

Shawna Mayo-Yokley of Lifelines Counseling Center nominated Jennifer based on her exemplary contributions to the program.

Here is what Shawna had to say about Jennifer:

“I am pleased to tell you about Jennifer Irwin. She shows an innate ability toward adapting the needed skills to be effective in her position as a volunteer victim advocate.  Her duties include answering crisis calls, assessing each situation in a calm manner, and providing appropriate services to each victim enduring the collection of forensic evidence following a sexual assault.

Jennifer shows initiative and has a zest for learning. She has completed and participated in an intense 40-hour training to become a hospital advocate for sexual assault victims of all ages, and she participated in volunteer meetings and continuing education activities to continuously polish her skills in working with victims and community members.

Jennifer has a special ability to work with people from different backgrounds and treat each person with fairness and respect. The staff, volunteers, and clients in our program represent a diversity of ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Her approach to people is one of an open heart, an open mind, and a genuine enthusiasm. She continually exceeds my expectations of her.

In short – I believe Jennifer to be deserving of recognition for her hard work and dedication to sexual assault victims in our community”.

 Jennifer Irwin
When we caught up with Jennifer, we asked her a few questions about herself and her volunteer work for Lifelines.

UWSWA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jennifer: I was born in North Carolina to a military family, but I have spent the majority of my life on the Gulf Coast. I am a senior Political Science major at the University of South Alabama. I’ve been volunteering at the Rape Crisis Center for almost three years. I currently hold a part-time job at Publix, I have also been the President of the Psychology/Psi Chi club at South, I have been on the Dean’s list, and was a part of the University marching band for three years.

UWSWA: What made you want to begin Volunteering?

Jennifer: I was informed about the Rape Crisis center through a psychology professor, and initially I was interested in how this experience would look on my resume. I was not aware just how much it would change my life. Going into college, I had the hopes of becoming a psychiatrist and helping those afflicted with mental illnesses. Yet, because of this experience, my complete outlook for my future changed. I want to be able to advocate and create policies that reduce the number of sexual assaults. I want to educate people on what they can do to help stop the stigma surrounding sexual assault.

UWSWA: What do you enjoy about volunteering?

Jennifer: I enjoy being there for someone who is hurting both emotionally and physically. I love being able to talk and educate people on what sexual assault is.

UWSWA: Why would you recommend volunteering to others?

Jennifer: It’s a rewarding experience. You’re able to help those who need support. You learn an incredible amount about sexual assault and you become an advocate for change.

 

UWSWA would like to thank Jennifer for the difference she is making in the lives of many people through Lifelines Counseling Services. It is only through the selfless service of volunteers like Jennifer that we are truly able to make a difference in the community.

If you would like information on volunteering in your community, or if you would like to nominate someone for UWSWA’s Volunteer of the Month, please contact Kristin Woods by calling (251) 433-3624 or emailing kwoods@uwswa.org.

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