Here at Support Within Reach we have what we call “programming.” Each advocate has an area that they specialize in. For example, one advocate focuses on criminal court, while others focus on human trafficking, sexual exploitation, prevention/education, development, and volunteer coordination.
So, when we aren’t doing client services we are focusing on these areas as they relate to sexual violence. When focusing on these areas we are looking at who can be trained, what we can train them on as it relates to a certain topic. Additionally, we focus on how we ensure that each of these areas are operating to their fullest capabilities. We are also thinking about awareness and how we can educate the public about these issues and what they can do about it.
I (Kori) am the Development and Volunteer Coordinator. When it comes to development, I am responsible for planning fundraisers, township donation projects, and anything related to incoming donations.
Planning fundraisers is not an easy task, especially right now during the pandemic. We had our virtual concert on July 25, which you can view on our Facebook page and donate if you are able. We would like to have another fundraiser later this year but waiting to see if there are significant changes relating to COVID-19.
Now, onto our volunteers who help tremendously in every aspect of our daily work. When working with our volunteers I am responsible for recruiting, training, setting up tasks to be completed, as well as any follow-up they take on the crisis line. We know volunteering looks much different now, but we are still in need of volunteers who are willing to work the crisis line to reduce advocate burnout. They receive ongoing training to ensure they are able to do this difficult, yet rewarding, job.
We also offer internships, but are not sure what that will look like this year. I am available to provide virtual trainings relating to these topics: Sexual Violence 101, Safe Bars (liquor serving establishments), “What is Advocacy?,” Empathy 101, and Violence and Norms.
Kortney is our Outreach and Prevention Coordinator. She is responsible for educating the community about sexual violence. She goes into schools, local organizations, and community groups to teach age appropriate prevention and awareness as it relates to sexual violence.
These trainings are for age groups ranging from kindergarten all the way through college. She has also worked with Bemidji State University to help victims and survivors on campus have easier access to the resources they need and want.
Riley is our Criminal Court Advocate and BSMART Coordinator. BSMART stands for Beltrami County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Action team. As the Criminal Court Advocate he is responsible for helping clients file protection orders such as a Harassment Restraining Order or an Order for Protection, help clients prep for court hearings such as trial prep if need be, and advocating for the clients in any way possible during the court process.
As the BSMART Coordinator, he organizes and plans monthly meetings to over 20 local organizations and agencies located throughout Beltrami County. BSMART’s mission is to implement and sustain compassionate, victim-centered response to sexual violence that is inclusive of all communities, and promotes victim’s definitions of healing, justice, and accountability.
Marcy, our Cass County Sexual Violence Coordinator, works out of our Walker office. She is the only advocate in that office, which means she does everything related to sexual violence advocacy. Her primary job is working with Cass County victims/survivors. She provides options and information for what the person is going through and listens by offering emotional support, whether it is via a one-on-one meeting, during sexual assault examination, law enforcement, or helping them through the court process.
She also chairs a team of professionals for C-SMART (Cass County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Response Team). The team ensures victim centered responses by coordinating, cooperating, and communicating with our partner agencies and communities. Marcy also gives presentations on sexual violence and prevention from pre-school, to high school, and other organizations in the community.
Next month you will learn about our other advocates roles and programs. If you missed our June newspaper column about our services, we provide in-person client services such as peer counseling, referrals, hospital/law enforcement/court advocacy, and our 24/7/365 day crisis line.
During this pandemic, we have been primarily working from home with one person in-office daily. Being home has helped us advocates envision what we want for our programs and how to make that work even virtually.
Kori Nelson is the Development and Volunteer Coordinator at Support Within Reach.