Direct Service

Direct Service Advocate

Interested in helping someone heal from abuse or assault? Want to gain counseling skills?

Advocates: How They Can Help (PDF)

Overview

Direct Service Advocates are trained to listen, provide support, and explain options to callers on our 24-hour help line during non-business hours. Advocates may also be required to do follow-up work in the office with clients. For example, writing letters on behalf of the client (with permission) if the person is looking for assistance in communicating to professors.

Please see the volunteer application packet for a complete job description.

Stats

We serve over 400 people at The Aurora Center and about half contact us through the help line.

Volunteer Hours

All advocates who volunteer on the help line are expected to cover five (5) shifts per month, including one (1) weekend shift. A shift is from 4:30pm on a business day to 8:00am the next business day. During the weekend, shifts begin on a Friday at 4:30pm until 8:00am the following Monday morning. When the office is closed due to official U of M holidays, coverage is needed as well.

Meetings

Direct Service Advocates join the Special Projects Volunteers, and Violence Prevention Educators in meeting throughout the semester. Contact Jerie Smith with any questions. Attendance at meetings is a requirement to volunteer.

All meetings are on Saturdays and scheduled 10:00am - 2:00pm

Logistics and Expectations

Volunteers in training will have many opportunities to ask questions pertaining to the position, especially what it will be like to talk with callers on the help line, but provided here is a brief and limited description of what is expected.

Working as a direct service advocate involves being "on call" via your cell phone and carrying a pager packet with an intervention manual, brochures, and other materials you may need to respond to a call from the helpline or to respond to the hospital emergency room. Advocates are expected to return phone calls from a contracted call center The Aurora Center uses within 15 minutes. If it is a call where the person in need is going to the emergency room for a sexual assault examination or related medical needs, advocates are expected to be at the emergency room within 30 minutes. Advocates are able to study and do some social activities while on call but are restricted from consuming alcohol or other drugs and are strongly encouraged not to work at their jobs while on call.

Advocates are expected to utilize the extensive training they receive to listen, validate, and explain options in a caring and supportive way to any client. Please refer to the brochure, "Advocates: How They Can Help" to learn more about the position or talk to Jerie Smith.

Summer & Winter Break

We still need coverage on the help line during summer and winter breaks. However, if advocates are not available during the summer break, they are still able to maintain involvement and volunteer during the academic year.

Supervision

Becky Redetzke Field and Megan Close supervise Help Line and Office Advocates in their work with clients, schedules their coverage of the helpline and their office hours. They share supervision with Jerie Smith, Volunteer Coordinator, who facilitates the monthly meetings and conducts performance reviews.

Please see the Volunteer Page for training information, or download the volunteer applica tion packet (PDF).