Updated: Mar 10
What is your role?
I am the Community Educator and Program Support Advocate. I provide education to the community via our prevention education programming, SafeU, and presentations or tabling as requested by businesses or groups. I also support operations at Sojourner by managing the intake and storage of in-kind donations and supplies, co-creating and disseminating digital & print communications, and providing general administrative support.
What drew you to this type of work, both at Sojourner and in general? I have always been passionate about ending intimate partner violence and education, both out of principle and due to personal experience. I believe that education is the path to understanding and ending intimate partner violence and other social issues. Sojourner allows me to intervene in classrooms at a critical time in young peoples’ lives.
What other background do you bring to your position here?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Gender & Women’s Studies and Legal Studies, as well as a certificate in Criminal Justice, from the University of Wisconsin. During my time at UW, I took many classes at the intersection of gender and crime. Intimate partner violence quickly became a topic I wrote about for any class that would allow it.
I also bring some volunteer and work experience with me to Sojourner. I volunteered with a domestic abuse shelter while in high school and a sexual assault crisis line while in college. After graduating from college, I volunteered as a full-time AmeriCorps member for one year. I was placed with a local community center, and I provided after-school programming and tutoring to middle school students. I also worked in a group home for young men before coming to Sojourner.
What is your favorite part about working at Sojourner so far?
My favorite part of working for Sojourner so far is definitely the prevention education we facilitate. I was able to co-facilitate a shortened version of the curriculum recently, and it was really great. I love being in the classroom and having engaging conversations with students. While there are still a lot of misconceptions about teen dating violence, it’s very encouraging to see students who are willing to critically examine their relationships.
What do you like to do with your time outside of work?
Outside of work, I spend most of my time with my dog, Kaia. She is a German Shepherd mutt I rescued last September, and she will be two in March. She has a big, bright personality and loves running around at the dog park. Aside from time spent with her, I also enjoy reading and listening to music and podcasts. I am very partial to mystery novels and social/cultural commentary podcasts.
What do you wish people knew about Sojourner?
This is certainly a biased response, but I wish people knew more about SafeU. I was never presented with any sort of structured violence prevention education growing up, so SafeU is revolutionary to me. When we go into classrooms, I can’t help but think of all the people in my life who could have been so positively impacted by prevention education. I feel very proud to do the work I am doing, and I am honored to be able to teach local youth things I wish I would have known at their age.
Courtney will now be handling all in-kind donations. Have items you would like to donate? Reach out to Courtney@sojournerproject.org or by calling 952-351-4066.