SAFETY EXIT

CRC Volunteer Testimonial: Monika Whisenhunt

Monika volunteer

“Now, after I have completed the course, I feel extremely empowered and confident that I can help someone who’s living a nightmare of domestic violence in a truly compassionate and unconditional way.” – Monika Whisenhunt

Community Resource Center provides a 40-Hour Domestic Violence Advocate Training. CRC volunteers often join these trainings as they seek to understand, advocate for and support survivors. Monika Whisenhunt is a CRC volunteer who participated in our 2020 training.

As an artist, I always wanted to help under-served communities heal through arts and crafts. That’s how I got involved with ARTS (A Reason To Survive). In 2009 Encinitas CRC’s children center used to be one of the very few places in North County welcoming help of ARTS volunteers – that’s when I first started helping at CRC.

Besides helping at CRC children’s center, over the last 10 years I have taken part in Holiday Baskets (both at food packing stations and by collecting items for the program with my work colleagues at Coast Law Group, LLP). I also hand painted sets of tea cups for the Spring Tea silent auction and took part in DV rallies. I had the opportunity to do live painting and share my story as a DV survivor at CRC’s Oceanside DV Rally in October 2015 (see attached picture).
I had been wanting to take the training for a very long time but, before the pandemic, I was not able to commit as I’m a single parent to two teenage sons who are very active athletes. The combination of the virtual training and stay-at-home order created the opportunity for me to finally make it happen.

The 40-Hour Domestic Violence Advocate Training was absolutely amazing. Yes, it was quite a bit of work and yes, it was a very intense type of information we were learning. But, the way that the training was coordinated, the types of presentations provided and the amazing speakers brought in to share their stories and resources made it very engaging and empowering for me.
What really stood out was the emphasis put on self-care. Jani did an amazing job stressing on importance of self-care when working with domestic violence victims and survivors – I did take it to heart.

I had wanted to do this training in order to gain more knowledge on the subject of domestic violence and societal attitudes. I wanted to use my art as a tool/medium to express the severity of the problem. The 40-hr training has provided me not only with that knowledge but has also expanded my personal level of compassion for human trauma. Now, after I have completed the course, I feel extremely empowered and confident that I can help someone who’s living a nightmare of domestic violence in a truly compassionate and unconditional way. I also feel the need and responsibility to have more conversations on the subject with people I come in contact with.

I believe that the 4-hour DV training should be mandatory for every adult human being. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who would ask if they should take it. The 40-hr DV advocate certification course is meant for people who are willing to un-learn societal norms and traditions and open their minds to a different level of compassion. I believe it’s for someone who truly wants to make a difference, because, once you take this training, there’s no going back – it will put a fire in your belly that you will not be able to tame unless you take action to help eradicate domestic violence.