At our local River City Domestic Violence Center, support groups are a helpful recovery tool for many survivors.
Each week, they host support groups for survivors who are, or have been in, the throes of violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking. This is their time to unravel, share, and support each other through everyday survival and other challenges.
Heidi Hassing, a volunteer at River City Domestic Violence Center, shares her time as a care giver to children affected by violence their parents have faced. Heidi provides a consistent, positive influence for children whose mothers, on their healing journey, attend these weekly support groups.
Because of Heidi’s critical role and her dedication to these children, United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton was honored to present her with the April 2023 Volunteer of the Month Award.
Amy Vollmer, Survivor Services Coordinator with River City Domestic Violence Center shares that, “Heidi inspires not only our staff but also survivors by her willingness to volunteer in such a unique way. She engages the children of survivors so their mothers can attend support group! Support group lasts for only one hour but the positive energy Heidi shares with the children stays with them all week! We all appreciate her gentle manner and kind heart so much! Heidi is so deserving of this award!”
We asked Heidi to share more about her volunteerism, in her own words.
I have lived in the Greater Yankton area since 2019 but grew up in Vermillion and later attended and graduated from Bon Homme High School in Tyndall. I have lived in this corner of South Dakota almost my whole life.
I began volunteering in fall of 2021 after encouragement from a former manager.
I volunteer about 2 to 4 hours a month at River City Domestic Violence Center and spend time watching children of survivors while they attend group sessions with my focus being on providing a safe, stress-free and fun environment.
Volunteering is enjoyable because the kids are so much fun, and I feel like I am able to give back to the community and to organizations like River City Domestic Violence Center that help change the lives of so many women and children.
I wouldn’t say I have a “best experience” volunteering because every chance I get to volunteer there is unique and I learn something new from the kids each time!!
The advice I would give to anyone considering getting out there and volunteering is just get out and do it! Even if one hour a week or one hour a month or one day a year might not seem significant to you, and you feel like it isn’t enough to make a difference, I promise that it will mean the world to someone else, and they will be so grateful you did.
To learn more about local volunteer opportunities or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, please visit www.yanktonunitedway.org/volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call United Way of Greater Yankton at (605) 665-6766.