Hello, my name is April. I have been a volunteer in some form or fashion for Center of Hope for approximately 10-12 years. However, it’s only been about 2 ½ years with the actual organization. From as far back as I can remember, which is to about age 3 until I was in my mid-20’s, my life had been entangled with some form of abuse i.e., verbal, physical and sexual; I knew no other life. The one thing that I did for myself is decide that I was important enough or had enough value as a person to separate myself from that lifestyle. To be honest, I have to tell you that I didn’t really believe that about myself. To this day, I can’t tell you where the strength came from to remove myself from that lifestyle, but I’m glad it did. I knew that wanted something more and something different from anything that I had ever experienced, and that I had to surround myself with compassionate and loving people. I also knew it would not be easy and that I had to work at not being the person that I despised the most “The Offender”.
For several years, I have volunteered my time by hosting a dinner or providing food for that dinner that my bible class sponsored; I still enjoy doing this when I can. Again I wanted something more, so now I take great pride in serving on the board and volunteering my time towards fundraising and basic board housekeeping tasks. The one thing that being associated with Center of Hope has taught me is that it doesn’t matter what form of contribution you provide as long as you are giving time or providing the means. It could be as simple as making a donation, buying a ticket to one of our events, to working the close closet, answering the phone or serving on the board. At the end of the day what really matters is taking pride in our community and trying to help those in need.
Because I’m involved with Center of Hope, I am more aware of my surroundings, not just for my personal safety, but now I look for opportunities to point someone in need to Center of Hope that could possibly benefit from the services provided. I think it is important to get the word out about how great the staff is at Center of Hope with great anticipation and hope that one more person gets the opportunity to muster the strength to take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. By being involved in the manner in which I am, I get to see and hear about the results that Center of Hope produces; that does my heart good. I think that had my mother survived her offender, she would be proud of my involvement and that she would donate her time as well to such an honorable charity.