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Volunteering with Hopeful Horizons

April 19-25 is National Volunteer Week. Volunteers play an integral part of the day-to-day functions, crisis intervention and overall community vision of our agency. Here's a thank-you letter from our Volunteer Coordinator, CJ Akins.

About seven years ago, I began volunteering with Hope Haven of the Lowcountry as a hospital advocate. Four years ago, I was hired as the Volunteer Coordinator. Three years ago, Hope Haven merged with CODA and we became Hopeful Horizons. The most constant and reliable thing I could rely on during those past seven years was our amazingly talented team. That team includes our dedicated and compassionate volunteers.

Volunteers play an integral part of the day-to-day functions, crisis intervention and overall community vision of our agency. Some volunteers interact with our children in our lobby while their parents meet with the forensic interview team or with their mental health therapist. Others help in our shelter by doing grocery shopping, helping with our children’s group, answering crisis calls, or helping input data into our system. We have volunteers who are on-call evenings and weekends, ready to respond to a request for hospital accompaniment for a victim of child sexual abuse, adult sexual assault or adult domestic violence. Then we have volunteers who help with our prevention and outreach programs like the Strengthening Families Program or setting up an awareness table at a community event. These caring and compassionate individuals make our mission possible.

Our volunteers have been with us from three months all the way up to 30 years! They are tireless advocates for Hopeful Horizons who have pushed our message and our work further into the community than we could have ever achieved as a staff alone. They helped us serve more than 1,000 clients last year in our five-county service area. They made it possible for staff members to take sick days, vacation, get the most up-to-date training and do their necessary work with clients.

Earlier this week, I spoke with a volunteer who has been with us for 30 years. After speaking with her, I realized that the volunteer program is probably the oldest program at Hopeful Horizons. Before there were therapists, advocates, administrative workers, there were a committed group of volunteers who wanted to change their community for the better. It is my honor to work with a dedicated group of individuals who continue giving their time in that same spirit. I would double your salaries, but I don’t actually pay you. Instead, please accept my, and everyone at Hopeful Horizons’, most humble and grateful thanks.

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