“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”- Winston Churchill
If you have a passion for helping others and seek to be a beacon of hope for those in need please consider joining our volunteer staff for one of our incredible programs.
Victim Counselor training is provided through an online education program and is required for volunteers who wish to work directly with clients.
Thanks for your interest in serving CIS! Volunteers are the heart of our agency.
Volunteer Opportunities may include:
- Phone support
- Housing Advocacy
- Community Engagement
- Board of Director opportunities
We provide live, secure, anonymous crisis support to the growing number of people who prefer communicating online through a simple instant message format and a 24-hour phone hotline, giving those affected by sexual assault a safe place to receive support.
Volunteers provide a vital connection to individuals in their community by giving rides to medical, social services, or other appointments. If you have access to a reliable vehicle, enjoy driving and meeting people, become a volunteer!
Events & Outreach
Help at a grassroots level to build community relationships. Outreach volunteers help raise awareness at community fairs and events throughout Southeast Iowa, assist us at our fundraising and awareness events or support our advocates at education events.
Even if you’ve never raised money before, you can succeed as a SASS fundraiser. Fundraising isn’t just about collecting money; it also entails effectively communicating why the donations are needed.
If you have good communication skills or want to improve in that area, then volunteering for a position that involves fundraising might be a good fit for you.
Credit counseling, financial counseling, resume writing, childcare, counseling & therapy services. There are a variety of ways your business or personal skills can make a positive impact on our clients. Whether you are a hair stylist, a lawyer, an accountant, or a taxi driver. We can use your support to assist our clients.
Many of our clients are in need of legal guidance through the prosecution process. If you are a lawyer, paralegal, or offer other legal skills they can be beneficial.
Training & Skills
CIS provides in-depth training to equip volunteers with the tools they need to succeed. If you’re interested in becoming a direct volunteer, application and training are required for certification. The training explores the healing process and how domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, stalking, and harassment impact survivors and those they love. We also focus on crisis intervention skills, cross-cultural counseling skills, and helping survivors navigate the medical and legal systems.
Things to know before you apply:
CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTANCE
Working with domestic and sexual abuse victims/survivors is a wonderful opportunity and a great responsibility. It is important that you commit to creating a respectful, accepting, and inclusive environment. We ask that all volunteer applicants:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Commit to following CIS’s confidentiality policy
- If interested in being an on-call response volunteer, reside or be able to respond within 60 minutes to a crisis incident
- Consent in writing to a criminal background check. (You will be disqualified if you have an assault on your record)
- Commit to training (approximately 30 hours – 24 online and 6 in-person)
- Be mentally and emotionally prepared to discuss sensitive topics
- Demonstrate respectful and highly effective communication skills
- Demonstrate acceptance of diverse lifestyles, values, and opinions
- Refrain from judging others’ choices
- Understand and adapt to a non-blaming, non-directive, survivor-centered model of counseling
Volunteer advocates must be able to provide information, referrals, and crisis intervention to survivors and their loved ones over the phone, as well as in-person support at hospitals and law enforcement agencies.
Crisis Line Volunteer Advocates: You can use your own phone or be provided with a cell phone so you can volunteer from home. We require that you be in a quiet, private location during calls. In-person Volunteer Advocates: Must be able to respond within 60 minutes to the location of advocacy. Locations include any medical facility within our 12 counties. All advocates are required to communicate effectively with those using CIS’s services and keep accurate records of the caller and in-person interactions.
Volunteer advocates must attend mandatory training that includes the successful completion of assignments and role-plays. In addition, we ask that you commit to volunteering for at least one year and be available for a minimum of 1 shift per month (at least 4 hours in length).
To provide the highest quality services to victims/survivors, volunteers must be emotionally healthy and well-trained. A lack of emotional health could result in:
- An inability to provide quality support and advocacy to victims/survivors and their loved one
- Harmful mistakes in the performance of advocate duties
- Detrimental effects on your overall well-being and quality of life
- A lack of training (knowledge and skills) could result in:
- Relaying inaccurate information
- Making unintentional insensitive remarks
- To that end, it is essential that you:
- Successfully complete all aspects of training
- Attend continuing education meetings
- Agree to receive performance-based feedback
- Request additional training or information on situations or topics about which you have questions
- Convey any concerns or insecurities you may have to the CIS Volunteer Coordinator or Executive Director
- Be cognizant of your own emotional health and stress level
- Agree to request a leave of absence from advocate duties, if needed. We understand that sometimes stress, sleep deprivation, a hectic schedule, or other circumstances can cause a decline in your emotional health and affect your ability to volunteer with us.
SURVIVORS INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING
If you are a survivor of abuse, it is important that you have had time to heal. Providing support to other survivors can trigger issues from your past. We recommend that following your victimization, you wait at least one year to volunteer at CIS.
WHY SHOULD I VOLUNTEER?
As an advocate, you will offer support to domestic and sexual abuse survivors and their loved ones. In return, CIS can provide you with: The opportunity to make a tangible difference: You can see the impact your work has during one-on-one contact over the phone or in-person at the hospital, police station, and court system. Personal growth, empowerment and confidence: The skills you develop as a volunteer are often useful in your personal, school, and work life. Being an advocate prepares you for difficult conversations, empowers you to speak up when victims are blamed, and provides confidence when helping others and yourself. Counseling skills and knowledge: Advocates receive training on the dynamics of sexual abuse, counseling, and active listening skills. They also receive information about community resources and referrals. College credit: Many schools offer college credit to volunteers. See your advisor to determine if you qualify. Job or graduate school experience: Graduate schools and employers often look for well-rounded applicants who give back to their communities. Your commitment to training and volunteering will look great on your graduate school application or résumé. CIS can provide references for graduate applications, jobs, or scholarships. Networking and friendship: During training and monthly meetings, you will meet others who have common interests. Many advocates find good friends and networking opportunities through CIS.
If you are interested in volunteering or need assistance arranging a donation drive, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator here or call our office at 641-673-0336