Strangely enough, my experience with Safe Harbor began with a bottle of fluorescent pink nail polish and a simple question. Across from me sat a 10 year-old girl whose life experiences were unlike my own. Her mother was a survivor of domestic violence and was currently living at the Safe Harbor shelter. This was my first introduction to volunteering at the shelter. In high school, I volunteered with a social service club that introduced students to various service opportunities within our community. On one such volunteering occasion, I landed at the Safe Harbor Shelter where we did Henna and painted nails of the residents. This is where I met 10 year-old ‘Gina’, a vivacious and optimistic young lady. Together, we painted each other’s nails and played on the playground. At the end of my shift, ‘Gina’ asked if I would return next week, sadly I hadn’t planned too, but as I sat in my car, I could not answer the question “why not? ”. So when I was given the opportunity to complete an internship at a local non-profit through Furman University, I felt it had to be at Safe Harbor.
Through this internship, I have connected with other businesses, volunteers, organizations, and offices to promote awareness about domestic violence and share the services that Safe Harbor provides. I have felt welcomed and at home at the community gatherings I have attended and learned much about the diversity of culture that surrounds South Carolina. I have seen that victims of domestic violence can come from all socio-economic strata and have met many who have shared their struggles, their bravery, and recovery. It is an honor to be entrusted with the stories of their lives.
Volunteering and spreading the mission of Safe Harbor has been my way of supporting this cause. Supporting Safe Harbor can be done in many forms. Simply, equipping yourself with knowledge about domestic violence and Safe Harbor’s services can help many. Active awareness that domestic violence exists and may exist around you is the easiest way to help. Being able to carry the message and vision of Safe Harbor has enriched my life and given me a newfound purpose.
Furman University Student
Safe Harbor Volunteer/Intern