Volunteer in DAWN
Are you interested in using your wisdom and life experience to help support women recovering from family violence?
By offering companionship and support to a woman who has experienced family violence, you can make a difference. Women supported through the DAWN Program have found that meeting regularly with their Mentors can help ease their social isolation, build their confidence and improve their sense of well-being. Read testimonials from women who have participated in the DAWN program by visiting My Mentor and Me
“When we reach out to a victim survivor, acknowledge their struggle and reassure them by our presence, walking alongside as they are empowered to break the negative beliefs instilled over time by the perpetrator, we become part of the solution. Watching them regain their sense of self-worth, one interaction at a time is an enriching experience. It has been very humbling and deeply rewarding”
What does a Mentor do?
The DAWN program links trained volunteer Mentors to women recovering from the impact of family violence. The Mentors provide individual support for up to two hours a week for 12 to 24 months. Mentors offer emotional support and a non-judgmental listening ear. Mentors may meet the women in their homes or elsewhere by agreement.
Mentors can provide practical and emotional support by:
- going with women to parks or for walks, to cafes for coffee or to movies
- helping women link in with other services
- supporting women at appointments or at court
- helping women access information and resources
DAWN Coordinators match Mentors with women according to their mutual interests, location, and availability. The funding from the Ian Potter Foundation has allowed us to expand the program beyond Manningham’s boundaries and include Whitehorse, Maroondah, Monash, Boroondara, Knox, and Banyule.
Volunteers are matched with the woman they will be supporting, according to interest and availability, usually for 12-24 months. During this time, the Mentor is supported by the Program Coordinator.
Is there training and support for volunteers in the DAWN program?
DAWN Coordinators provide initial training to those who decide to volunteer in the program and also ongoing support and training to Mentors both individually and via monthly Mentor meetings. The two-day initial training includes information on the the nature and drivers of family violence, its impact on women and children, and strategies for offering support.
Mentors will have the following opportunities:
- Training and ongoing support
- Meeting people from diverse backgrounds and experiences
- Learning more about the impact of family violence and support services available
- Participation in monthly meetings to learn more and for mutual support
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So why do our mentors volunteer?
“It’s incredible to meet people who are brave enough to ask for help and accept it, then watch them find their voice, strength, value, confidence, and greatness again. I really wish I’d had that support myself which is why I want to do it for others.”
“I decided to be a mentor as I have witnessed someone close to me experience domestic violence. It was a very difficult time for her, and she had no support or anyone to turn to for help. As my knowledge in this area was limited, I did not really know what the best way was to support her apart from being a good friend. Participating in the DAWN mentoring program will give me the opportunity to give back, learn and assist a woman who is recovering from family violence.”
“I was a victim of domestic violence and abuse over a period of several years. My journey during this time was long and lonely. I was convinced that I was alone in my journey, and I had no idea that what I was experiencing was family violence. (The family violence) may have continued had I not received vital assistance.... I do not think anyone is totally free from abuse as our society has not fully evolved into the caring nurturing society, we all hope and pray for, but if there is anything I can do for another as a mentor then this is a starting place and what I want to do.”
“I want to give back. Doncare was amazingly supportive about 5 years ago and it really helped me to get through a crisis...I feel it is very rewarding to help somebody in this rather bleak COVID world. Even if we go into lockdown now, I have connected to my mentee, and we can maintain contact during another looming lockdown.”
“I am in awe of all that I have learnt about family violence in this short period and all that I will continue to learn from this amazing program. Feel so humbled to be part of the volunteering group.”
“I saw the DAWN program as an opportunity to give back to the community in an area where it was women supporting women. As a volunteer I have learned so much from my clients. One thing they all have in common is the need for people to journey with them. Recovery is a long journey. There are no magic answers. It’s all about building a supportive relationship with the person and being with them as they rebuild their lives.”