It was an eye opening moment when Michele Duncan first walked into The Crisis Center to volunteer. Having not experienced violence in her own life, her surprise came from the realization that so many, from different walks of life, are affected by loved ones who exhibit violent behavior at home.
Through The Rotary Club of Parker, she was introduced to the center when the director came to give a presentation to the group. “After Jennifer Walker, Executive Director at The Crisis Center, came to speak at a Rotary Club meeting,” Duncan remembers, “it just struck me.” That pull on her conscience forced her to take action and begin volunteering.
Over four years ago, she recalls initially being asked to help at the local shelter. Her first assignment – freshening up some fading walls with a fresh coat of paint. After that, she returned once a week to do everything from cleaning rooms at the confidential housing location, to answering phones at the administrative offices here in Castle Rock. “When they need bodies, they call their volunteers, on the list…I would then put it (a post) onto our rotary site to get more people to help,” she humbly stated.
But it wasn’t until her first-hand experience that Duncan understood how many people lives were marked by violence – violence so terrible that it made them fear for their livelihood. “They only take people who need a confidential shelter. There are women there who have driven three-quarters of the way across the country to get away from someone. It really tugs at your heart,” said Duncan. Volunteering helped her recognize that it’s not only women who are affected, men also come to the crisis center because they feel their lives are in danger. “Volunteering at The Crisis Center gave me a perspective on how widespread it (violence) is. Surprisingly, there are men at the shelter too,” she remarked.
And while initially donating her time to serve those staying at the facility, her skills eventually moved her into taking on more of a fundraising role. “Now I’m helping them with fundraising – things like the Crisis Center Empty Bowl event, in March, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds and getting money for improvements at the center,” Duncan said. Her persistence and patience allowed her to work on projects with several Douglas County Rotary Clubs and matching grants from Rotary International to install energy efficient solar-panels, obtain a new storage shed, and put new mulch on the playground at the shelter next month.
However, because of her new understanding through volunteering at The Crisis Center, she knows her work has only just begun if there is a chance to make a difference. Duncan plans to forage on with her friends and fellow volunteers, using her talents, to help educate the public and put an end to domestic violence. Duncan shrugs, “You’d really be shocked at how many are affected by violence. It’s something that could happen to anyone.”
If you would like more information on The Crisis Center and becoming a volunteer, please visit: http://thecrisiscenter.org/.
For more information about the Empty Bowl event and/or to purchase tickets, click here: https://myab.co/events/A9/.