The North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center (NCRCCPC) was originally established as the Lompoc Rape and Crisis Center in 1974, in order to provide support to survivors of sexual assault. Over the years, services to survivors grew to include education and prevention services offered to the general community.
Today, the organization provides direct services to survivors of sexual assault and their families in the Lompoc, Santa Maria and Guadalupe communities. They also provide education and prevention programs to the general public, bringing awareness to the sensitive but important issue of rape and abuse.
“Before I started as an Advocate I had no idea just how huge the issue of sexual assault/abuse is,” said Mandy Ebert, hotline and volunteer coordinator for The North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center. “After that realization I couldn’t stop, I had to help in any way I could.”
If you are interested in being a part of the solution, The North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center has a variety of volunteer opportunities. Volunteers for NCRCCPC not only provide a vital role in the organization, they also give back to the local community in a big way and often impact the lives of those they work with.
“1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be victimized. When I think of those stats it is paralyzing. As a grandmother, nurse and advisor I cannot not help. Volunteering allows me to know that I made a difference to that one,” explained Loni, a volunteer with NCRCCPC since April 2015. “I challenge everyone who is overwhelmed and grief stricken with the bad in this world to make a difference where you stand. If we all together do that we can change the tide and truly make a beautiful world.”
One of the main roles volunteers play is working for The North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center’s hotline. The phone line is used for crisis intervention, speaking to past or present victims and survivors of sexual assault or child abuse. Law enforcement also use this number to call us out to respond to an immediate report of rape.
Though working in such a serious role in NCRCCPC may sound scary, the organization has an excellent training program that every volunteer is required to go though. Volunteers are also never left by themselves to work the hotline, so someone is always there to assist if needed.
“Our hotline volunteers are so crucial, our organization truly cannot do this on our own,” explained hotline and volunteer coordinator Mandy Ebert. “Yes it can be tough and sad, but the rewards are pretty incredible, not to mention the great people you get to work with.”
Mandy explained that many of the organization’s Volunteer Advocates are prior survivors of some form of sexual or child abuse. “They believe in healing through helping others, and it is working,” she said.
Such was the case for Brittany, who had been a victim of abuse herself. A volunteer with the organization since 2009, She found that working with North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center has been just as beneficial to her as it’s been to those she has served.
“I officially was on the hotline in January of 2009 and have never looked back,” she said. “I grew up in a home of domestic violence and am a survivor of child abuse. My mom and sisters and I were blessed to be able to reach out and get help that we needed at crucial moments and are able to live a safer and happier life now. Being a volunteer has given me the opportunity to give back in such a needed way and I am so grateful to be able to do this for the center and for our survivors.”
In addition to monitoring the hotline, volunteers also help North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center with their prevention programs and community outreach, doing things like helping staff with the ChildSAFE program, which helps students in K-12th grade know how to identify if there is an inappropriate situation going on and how to find help. There are also a lot of fundraising and community outreach events the organization always need help with.
“You don’t have to become a trained Advocate to get involved, it’s not for everyone,” Ebert said. “But you can donate, you can participate in our fundraisers, and you can help by talking about it and raising awareness.”
Regardless of the role a volunteer plays in NCRCCPC, one thing remains the same: they all make a huge difference in a family and in our community.
“I have always heard that the way to help yourself is to help others. Through my work with North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center , I have learned that couldn’t be truer,” said Cyndi. Cyndi began volunteering with NCRCCPC in 2010, and is now part of the staff.
“Getting to work with my community and the feeling of making a difference is priceless,” she said. “It is truly gratifying to be able to help people at possibly the most traumatic time of their lives.”
To learn more about North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center and volunteer opportunities, visit www.sbcountyrapecrisis.org or contact hotline and volunteer coordinator Mandy Ebert at (805) 736-8535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.