Emergency Exit
June 9, 2020

Inside Scoop: A Typical Day at Women’s Advocates

Inside Scoop: Getting to Know the First Domestic Violence Shelter. In this series, you will hear from the many different voices that encompass Women’s Advocates. You will be able to read direct quotes from our advocates to gain a deeper understanding of our shelter and about domestic violence advocacy. Learn more about the descriptions of the various advocates and team members by clicking here

What is a typical day for you like? (before COVID-19)

Sam, Family Advocate for over 1.5 years 

“Let’s be real, it’s a shelter, there is no typical day. In the grand scheme of things though, I come in and support residents in the shelter with their needs; this can include providing resources like job postings. I also support a caseload (usually 4-5 residents) with creating goals they want to work on while they are in the shelter and recommending applicable resources for them. I also get them connected with our children’s program, legal advocate, mental health therapist, and/or housing and aftercare advocate (where applicable). Depending on the day I may also answer crisis calls and provide over the phone advocacy and recommend applicable resources (e.g. shelter options or legal services) to callers.”

Kay, Family Advocate for almost 2 years 

I serve as a primary advocate, which means that I have a caseload of residents who I regularly meet during their time in the shelter. I support residents with their self-set goals in areas such as education, employment, childcare, housing, and legal issues. Days vary widely but might include helping a resident arrange a police escort to retrieve belongings from an abusive partner’s home, connecting a resident to an educational program, or reaching out to a landlord to advocate on the resident’s behalf and clarify information.”

Amy, Overnight Family Advocate for 3 years 

“Overnights can always be different. We answer the crisis line, we connect with the shelter guests and are available when they need to talk. We are responsible for building security, and we look for any small, quiet tasks to do like copying or cleaning.” 

Mary Beth, Crisis and Resource Advocate for 2 years 

“I get into the office by 7 am to check in with the previous shift. We go over who is in the shelter and discuss whether there are any issues from the night before that need to be addressed during the day. From then on, I’m usually answering crisis calls and visiting with residents who stop by the office for an appointment or to make a request. If the shelter is quiet and the phone lines aren’t super busy, I’ll spend some time organizing items in the clothing closet. At 3 pm, I relay any relevant information to the next shift and then I head out for the day!” 

Jill, Crisis and Resource Advocate for 20 years 

“Currently I come to work and do a change over with staff that started their shift earlier so we can discuss what needs to be done for residents and any relevant issues that occurred earlier. Then I look on the Dayone site to see if any other shelters are listing space. I record my time for that day.  The remainder of the day involves answering the phone, screening victims for shelter, assisting residents with their needs, and answering the door following security protocol.”

Saran, Mental Health Therapist for 5 years 

“I start my mornings with prayer and mindfulness breathing exercises before heading to work. Once at work, I greet everyone with a pleasant good morning. On Mondays, I facilitate a mindfulness group with calming music to set the mood for mindfulness breathing exercises. Then, I attend scheduled appointments with residents; check in with program staff, eat lunch, check emails, and record progress notes. Finally, I attend scheduled program team meetings.”

Nisha, Housing Advocates for over 6 months

“A typical day for me consists of many phone calls throughout the day, apartment and employment searching, many emails, being able to stop and take a crisis call at any moment, handle it and return to what I was doing all while keeping a pretty positive attitude.”

Kelly, Children’s Advocate for 22 years 

“There is never a “typical day” 🙂 you may start the day out with a plan but be prepared to just do what is needed. In the Children’s Program, we provide a safe and trusting environment for our families that come to WA. Some of the time we are planning, creating, and implementing projects and programming. The next minute you may be welcoming a new family in, hanging out and providing a trusting relationship, sending someone off to school with a “have a great day and see you when you get home” making sure you don’t forget the snack, getting in touch with the school districts to make sure they are all set and ready to attend and remembering to make sure they are getting a cool new backpack, sitting at a table doing crafts and when the paint is spilled I am able to find a new pair of pants so you don’t have to worry about that. Mostly I’m schooled at the latest video game ( found out I’m not too bad at Mario kart) and YOUTUBE videos – and on raining days we are hanging out in PJ’s eating popcorn watching their favorite movie. Since the seasons are changing I am able to decorate our space with all the wonderful artwork the children made. When the sun is shining you might hear laughter coming from the playground where we are out jump roping or playing a game of tag. When a new family arrives we are welcoming them and getting them the things they need to start out fresh in their new place, soon the doorbell is ringing and it might be a donation that is coming in or a delivery for the office or kitchen in some cases it could be a volunteer that has been coming to WA for 10 years plus to help with things to ensure we run smoothly. We connect with community agencies such as Como Zoo or Kids Kreate to come in and do fun programming for our children and you might just catch Rachel out in the garden she planted where she grows things for the house and the smoothies she makes for all of us to enjoy. At the end of the day… I just might be sitting on a rocker holding a baby while they sleep. Each day is filled with different things and sometimes it’s all or nothing, but the important thing is each and every day we are here creating positive memories and interactions with each person that steps through our doors in hopes of a brighter outcome.”

Brenisen, Education and Outreach Coordinator for over 1 year 

In my position, no day is exactly like the other. However, a sample day could include starting the morning off with a presentation on the interconnection of homelessness and domestic violence to property managers and housing advocates, then spending some time coordinating upcoming speaking engagements, tabling at a college volunteer fair to promote our volunteer opportunities, having a meeting with a partner about future collaborative events, and then wrapping up the day with emails and curriculum development.”

JoAnn, Director of Operations & HR for 4.5 years

“Even though Operations is listed first in my job title, only about a third of my job is in operations, because Women’s Advocates is so lucky to have an amazing Facilities Manager who leads the day-to day operations.  My operations work focuses mostly on safety & security, large project management, vendor contracts, and our infrastructure.  With regard to HR, I am a one-person team, so I split my time working on recruiting and hiring, organizational development, benefits, wellness, and our critical DEI initiatives.”


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