Cassandra’s (Cassie) journey at VVS started in April 2019, as a part-time Advocate, rotating through day shifts and overnight shifts. Cassie shares, “I was given the opportunity to become the Lead Advocate around January 2020, which allowed me to take on more duties and responsibilities around the Shelter. I continued in this position from January 2020 until May 2021, where I dually worked at Shelter as well as joined our Legal Advocacy team at our legal office. I worked three days at our shelter and two days at our legal office. In June 2022, I transitioned to working full-time with our Legal Advocacy team to expand my knowledge in a different area of our organization. Who knew I would come full circle and eventually be given the opportunity to manage our Residential Services Department. I am excited to be given this opportunity!
I make sure I am present within the shelter for any support survivors need. This could range from emotional support, crisis intervention, or assisting them with navigating their personal goals. As with any managerial role, I take on the task to make final decisions along with the Advocates, speaking with survivors that may be unhappy with a situation, but most importantly there to support the staff who are providing more of the direct services to the survivors.
The staff here are amazing! I truly couldn’t think of a better group of people to work alongside with every day. Each member of this team brings something different to the table, and I think we compliment each other very well. One of the most amazing things about this team is the time they have dedicated to this organization. Most of our staff have been around for a while, which is a huge testimony to their dedication, including 15+ years, 10+ years, 5+ years, and 2+ years. The staff are here to make a difference and enjoy being here, and that’s just speaking for the residential side. The staff collaboration isn’t only within shelter walls, the team extends into our Community Based Advocacy programs with whom we work closely day by day. Our Community Based Advocacy addresses much needed areas to ensure we can truly provide wrap around services to our survivors. I am also so thankful for the staff we have at our legal and outreach offices, another amazing group of people. I could go on all day!
I believe this work is so impactful in survivors’ lives because it gives hope to the survivors. We are here to ensure survivors don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Leaving a dangerous and abusive situation is scary enough. We at VVS want to lend a hand, to walk beside survivors as they navigate the next steps in their journey. Some of the outcomes/impacts we see often are a sense of purpose again; a will to continue and fight for the life that they deserve, a sense of independence and freedom, and a new beginning!
We are moving in an amazing direction, always thinking about the next step and how to best serve those who seek our services. I am truly proud to be a part of this organization!”