Bessie, Development and Communications Intern, here! Today is my last day interning at Steps, and I am feeling some type of way. As I gear up for graduation, I have a lot to be thankful for, but one of the things I am most thankful for is the opportunity to work with such an empowering organization.
At the risk of sounding totally cliche: when I initially applied to intern at Steps, I felt like I was supposed to be here; it made sense to me that I should be helping those who have been made to feel small because I have been made to feel small myself -- both as a woman and as a survivor of teen domestic violence. Still, I didn’t know then what a huge impact this experience would have on me both professionally and personally.
I have learned so much about domestic violence - about the signs to look for, about its commonplace, its impact, and about the resources and support systems out there for folks who have been affected by DV. My own misconceptions have been cleared up, and I’ve learned how to talk about domestic violence--with my friends, with young people, with survivors, and with my community. I have learned so much about DV, but I’ve learned about myself, too, and I’m walking away with an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward everybody I connected with along the way.
One of my responsibilities in this role was to correspond with survivors to help them share their stories. I will admit I was nervous about reaching out to survivors; how do you ask somebody to share some of the most traumatic and heartbreaking moments of their life with you? To be vulnerable in this way is one of the most courageous acts I know, and it has been an absolute honor working with these lionhearted people.
I have been so in awe of these survivors’ resilience, openness, and determination to empower others while healing through writing. So to the survivors I connected with: I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your experience with me and with our community. Your voice matters, and you have made a difference.
I have seen just how vital a resource Steps to End Domestic Violence is, and I am so thankful to all who have kept its doors open. I am so glad to have been a part of this organization even for such a short amount of time, and I encourage everybody to support an organization whose mission they can stand behind.
There are over 4,000 nonprofits in Vermont alone so get involved--donate a meal, volunteer to be a hotline advocate, be a mentor, go to a benefit concert. I promise it will change your life for the better and more importantly: you WILL make a difference.
I am better for this experience, and I will always be an advocate. Thank you, thank you, thank you!