Volunteering with the STOP-IT Program
This past Saturday, we trained a new group of people at our Spring Volunteer Training. We are so lucky to have new energy on our dedicated team!
As we embark on this journey with a new cohort of volunteers, we thought we'd further describe the orientation process and requirements of our direct service roles so you are better able to decide if you are interested in volunteering with our program in the future.
Here's what you need to know:
Volunteers within The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT Program have a multitude of opportunities to serve survivors of sex and labor trafficking, both directly and indirectly. Our volunteer direct service positions are on our 24/7 hotline, at our low threshold youth-focused female-identified drop-in center, and mentoring.
For each direct service position, we have an extensive training that is required. Typically, we hold this training on two consecutive Saturdays—once in the spring, and once in the fall. Each day is 8:30am-4:30pm. Below this breakdown of our required training.
Day one of the training covers five different modules:
- Definitions of trafficking (What is it, legally? What is the extent of the issue worldwide and in our community?)
- Pathways and precursors to trafficking (What makes people vulnerable?)
- Victim/survivor identification (How do we identify someone who has experienced trafficking? Why might it be difficult to build a relationship with someone who has experienced trafficking?)
- Understanding the impact (What are the emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological impacts of trafficking?)
- Effective service delivery (How do we help folks who might have these lived experiences? Practical tools to help).
Day two of the training covers specific policies and procedures:
- A short introduction to mentoring and drop-in volunteering.
- Policies and procedures to work on our hotline (this is applicable to every direct service volunteer, explanation listed below).
- Role plays!
- Safe From Harm (a comprehensive safety and abuse prevention program required of all volunteers, interns and staff at The Salvation Army).
One Phone Interview
We want to get to know you and your experience. The purpose of this interview is to assess goodness of fit (on both ends) for volunteering with STOP-IT.
Two Reference Checks and a Background Check
We want to ensure that the people volunteering with us are safe and reliable. We are serving vulnerable people and do not want to put the folks we serve at risk of being re-traumatized or re-exploited.
Two Day Training
We equip every person volunteering with our program with a baseline understanding of the intricacies of human trafficking. In order to best serve the people we work with, everyone that would like to volunteer directly with our program participants, regardless of prior experience, must attend this training. We want to get to know you in person and to ensure each volunteer has the tools they need to do this work!
Three Months of Hotline BEFORE Drop-In or Mentoring
All volunteers must start off by manning our hotline for three months before they move into other roles. The goal here is to make sure that each volunteer interested in working in our drop-in center or in a mentor capacity has some experience before meeting with participants face to face. Our program wants to get to know how you handle stressful situations, how you explain program services, and your communication style.
Drop-in OR Mentor Orientation
Once you've been on the hotline for three months, you'd go through further orientation to work in the drop-in or as a mentor. We want to make sure that you are adequately prepared to step into a new volunteer role. This is a chance for the youth development coordinator to get to know you as well and assess goodness of fit for the drop-in/mentor positions.
Drop-in OR Mentor Commitment
We require a commitment of at least six months for both the drop-in and mentor positions. For mentors, we would prefer a year commitment. Unfortunately, the people that we work with tend to lack support. We are looking for people who can help build this support back up and who are able to put in the time to do so. Having volunteers come in and out of our program participants’ lives can be damaging and reinforce mistrust of service providers as a whole. We want potential volunteers in this space to invest in the people seeking services.
Why Continuing Education is Important
We offer continuing education webinars that can be accessed from any computer. We want volunteers to be able to stay invested in their experience with us and to continue to expand their knowledge on issues related to anti-trafficking work. Social services requires volunteers and staff who are invested in life-long learning.
It takes a special person to want to donate their time, talents, and efforts to individuals who have experienced severe forms of trauma. People cannot start or continue this work if they’re not caring for themselves. Burnout and compassion fatigue lead to indifference and the inability to do our best when working with the individuals who need us most. We encourage volunteers to create a self-care plan to follow and to take a step back if they feel the work is becoming too much. Open communication is the key to a successful volunteer experience!
Ready to volunteer with us? Have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!