Volunteer of the Year Debbie Sode!
“I’m paying it forward because I was a victim of domestic violence, and I was helped, and now I want to help others,” says Debbie Sode, NEWS 2012 Volunteer of the Year. Debbie was presented with a plaque at the December Volunteer holiday party. She is pictured (right) with Shara Mae Davis, NEWS Volunteer Coordinator (left).
Debbie stayed at an emergency shelter in Livermore years ago when she found herself in danger in a relationship. She remembers how important it was to finally feel safe, and having the support to put her life back together was so important. Debbie moved to Napa 2 years ago after retiring from a 27 year career at Sandia Labs. As soon as she came to Napa she signed up for the NEWS Volunteer training, a 60-hour state certified curriculum which prepares volunteers to be domestic violence and sexual assault counselors. Since July of 2011, Debbie has worked every Monday night (when she was not traveling) at the NEWS safe house, answering the crisis line and helping the clients who live there.
Debbie loves to travel in her RV, and even though she spends many weeks of the year out of town, she still managed to volunteer an amazing 2,500 hours since July of 2011. This year she will be traveling in the spring all throughout Canada and Alaska.
“I have so much respect for all of the advocates who work at NEWS,” Debbie says. Well, Debbie, we couldn’t do it without you and all of our dedicated volunteers. The winter volunteer training is starting this week with 15 potential counselors committing 60 hours of their time for training, and then 24 hours a month for a minimum of 6 months. Counselors serve on our domestic violence and sexual assault response teams, staff the emergency shelter, attend outreach events, and help in the administrative office. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for NEWS, please click HERE for more information