I'm a paralegal, so that's my day job. The counselor-advocacy is volunteer work through a California based organization called Peace Over Violence. One on One, One by One : Peace Over Violence
Months of very grueling training to become state certified. Plus we have to take courses once a month to keep our certification. We all take shifts 1 or 2 4 or 12 hour shifts answering crisis calls on a 24-hr hotline. Also, when I survivor is brought in to the Hospital, police station or SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Center, we are dispatched out to the scene to advocate on their behalf (if they so wish). Often, the survivors don't know their legal rights, or their right to refuse, and sometimes (not always, I've met some wonderful cops along the way, and some douches) the survivor may be in a precarious situation, e.g. a prostitute or an illegal immigrant. If a survivor doesn't have anywhere to go, we work on getting them shelter (this is hard when so many of the shelters are full). Sometimes they don't want me there at all, so I give them information and take off. Other times, I just hold their hand, whatever they need. Then we do follow-up with the survivor and our agency provides free counseling, groups, and legal advocacy. There are times when I've been able to assist them in filing restraining orders and other legal related assistance.
I love doing it, but it is a fine line knowing just how much you can really do. I just do what I can and try to let them go from my energy. I used to carry them all around with me, and wanted to take them all home! There were moments in my life where I just wanted to die and didn't see the light ahead. But I made it with bells on! If I can encourage someone in there struggle and be their voice, that is a life worth living!
Look up agencies in New York, there's got to be a way for you to reach out to the community!
That's great you're going to teach special eds! It takes a special person to chose a path that helps others that so many people ignore. Good triumphs over evil yet again! Right on sista!