Our semi-monthly series, In the Spotlight is designed to introduce the staff, interns and volunteers who make up Sojourner. This month, meet the Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, Laura.
What is your role at Sojourner?
I coordinate our Outreach and Education department and work in the community to raise awareness about Sojourner’s services, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Our department goes into businesses, faith communities and other groups to share this information and engage the community in our mission. Our department also provides a violence prevention education curriculum called SafeU to young people in five local school districts. By providing information about healthy relationships, boundaries, personal values, and consent to middle and high school students, we help prevent future victims and abusers. Another part of my job is to coordinate our volunteer and internship program. Volunteers and interns are instrumental to the work we do at Sojourner! Finally, I oversee our in-kind donations and provide program support as needed.
What is your background and history with Sojourner?
I have a bachelor’s degree from the U of M in Family Social Science with a minor in Youth Studies. I have been in the non-profit field for almost 15 years! Before coming to Sojourner, I was a youth counselor for many years serving the Minneapolis area and have also worked at the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. I am grateful for the ability to serve others through-out the years in different capacities and roles. I came to Sojourner over 6 years ago and initially provided more program support before moving into the role of coordinating our Outreach and Education department. My role at Sojourner allows me to meet many people in the community and within our partner organizations, which I really enjoy!
Why do you think community and/or prevention education is important?
Education to adults and youth is incredibly vital when helping to foster safer communities and lives! We know that 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence sometime in their lives. The outreach and education to adults not only gets people involved with Sojourner, it also provides much needed information to audience members that could transform, stabilize, and even save lives. SafeU, which provide education to young people, is important in the prevention of future victims and abusers. When young people are empowered with knowledge and tools, they are better equipped to navigate challenging situations and be an active bystander!
What do you most want people to know about the work that Sojourner does and the impact it has on individuals and communities?
Sojourner is an incredible organization that is committed to serving those victimized by violence. We approach a very challenging, complex public health issue from many lenses and angles. Sojourner’s work and dedication with each client not only increases safety to that individual and their family, but also to the community. It is a privilege to be a part of supporting individuals and families along their journey to safety and stability!