JVC Northwest Communications Coordinator Phil Gerigscott interviews partner agency WCA Boise Communications Manager Chris Campbell-Davis about their mission, JV involvement, and how we can make change in our communities.
This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click here to watch the full interview.
Phil: We are so excited to be actively recruiting again for the Boise locale. One of those partner agencies that we’ll be recruiting for is the WCA, the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, in Boise, Idaho. Can you tell me a little bit about the mission of the WCA for those who are unfamiliar?
Chris: Absolutely. Our mission at the WCA is safety, healing and freedom from domestic abuse and sexual assault. And that mission supports the greater vision of the organization which is a community where individuals thrive in safe, healthy relationships.
We have case managers, we have crisis counselors, we run a 24-hour hotline, and we have an undisclosed location that has two shelters on it. We have a five-acre campus that has a 120-day emergency shelter and a transitional shelter. We’re trying to help educate people in the hope that maybe more people won’t need those services. We’re trying to break the cycle of generational domestic violence in families.
“We’re trying to break the cycle of generational domestic violence in families. “
We’re getting really creative to provide that outreach: going live on Facebook, recording presentations and sending out links, and we just rolled out a new website last week and an online prevention hub. We rolled out a Prevention Perspective podcast, which we dropped the first episode two weeks ago, and that’ll be happening twice a month.
We’ve really missed having Jesuit Volunteers here because we’ve had them as part of our team as an Outreach Coordinator since 2013 and then we added the Prevention Coordinator position. So really, focusing on those different audiences. So, prevention work: focusing on youth, serving organizations and in the schools, talking about healthy boundaries and teen dating violence, talking to parents and helping build good communities for kids and youth. And then the Outreach Coordinator: trying to start conversations in the community, getting materials out about how to access services.
We’re really looking forward to the opportunity of having Jesuit Volunteers back in here because they’ve really helped build our capacity, and helped us build the foundation for our capacity to grow. And we’re still growing. We’ve got lots of fun projects we’d like to continue. Our Break the Cycle presentation that we’ve been doing for years now—we built on it—we now have a middle school version, a high school version, a college version, we’re working on an LGBTQ version. But that was one that our second outreach JV did. Our Instagram channel—mid-morning I think it hit 5,014 followers—and the second JV I had in 2014 started that Instagram channel in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Phil: When thinking about the next JVs to join the WCA, what sort of skills or passions would you hope that they would come with?
Chris: We can work with people if they’re scared of public speaking or they don’t know anything about social media or anything like that.
Phil: So as long they’ve got an open mind to learn . . .
Chris: Yes, and they want to work on that. Because that’s one of the things we ask is, what is it you want to work on? What do you want to get better at? But I think it’s got to be passion. You have to be passionate about our mission, passionate about what we’re doing, passionate about creating change. And understanding that our mission is what we are going to remain committed to.
Phil: I’m wondering about the people from home that are tuning in and how they might be able to support WCA’s mission either directly through WCA Boise or the mission in their own communities.
Chris: I would say, first, if you haven’t educated yourself about domestic abuse or sexual assault, please do that. Go educate yourself. Because it’s a lot more common than people recognize and it is more invasive than just physical abuse. Go to some place like NNEDV or NCADV if you’re looking for a national organization, or go to WCAboise.org because we do have some amazing resources there.
“if you’re concerned about somebody, reach out to them.”
And second, if you’re concerned about somebody, reach out to them. Believe them if they share with you, but just reach out. Keep reaching out, especially right now. If somebody is dealing with something, they may not want to hear it, they may not be ready to leave, and it has to be their choice. Look for your local resource, follow them on social media, share their stuff because education and starting conversations is the way that we can impact and make change in our community.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)