July 14, 2004 VIVA, short for the Family Resource Center's Virgin Island Victim Advocate, needs volunteers. If you think you have what it takes to help residents in time of need, join the agency's upcoming advocate training program.
The program meets once a week for 12 weeks starting July 26. Sessions run from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. at the Family Resource Center on Bunker Hill.
"Come to the meeting and decide if it's for you," Cynthia Farmer, the agency's volunteer coordinator, suggested.
She said that Family Resource Center started the program two years ago after a similar program narrowed its focus. "We're there for somebody who needs help," she said.
The help may include serving as an advocate for rape victims, assisting in domestic violence cases or simply lending an ear.
The training includes seminars by professionals from various organizations. They include the Police Department's Domestic Violence Unit and the Justice Department, which will discuss victim's legal rights. Additionally, staff from the Roy L. Schneider Hospital will explain the details of rape kits; the Human Services Department will discuss how to deal with victims who are children and the Victim Compensation Program will discuss the fact that some victims can receive compensation. Staff from various social service agencies will discuss domestic violence.
Farmer said the training includes role-playing so advocates learn how to handle different scenarios.
The training will also prepare volunteers to work the Family Resource Center hotline and serve as court monitors.
To sign up for the volunteer training program, call 776-3966.
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