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Nonprofit View: Rape Crisis Intervention Service implemented virtual programs, seeks volunteers | COMMENTARY

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), every 73 seconds an individual in the United States is sexually assaulted. Furthermore, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will experience sexual violence at least once in their lifetime (ibid). These survivors deserve to be believed, heard and supported.

Over the last 42 years, Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County (RCIS) has been dedicated to providing free counseling and support services to survivors and their family who have been affected by sexual violence in the community. RCIS continues to fight to end sexual violence in Carroll County through their continuous educational programming, community outreach and advocacy efforts.

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Due to COVID-19, RCIS employees began working from home in March of this year. However, this did not stop their hardworking team from continuing to provide free and confidential services to survivors and their loved ones. RCIS employees put their heads together and worked tirelessly to successfully implement new virtual individualized therapy and walk-in crisis intervention services.

To continue to provide essential services such as their 24-hour hotline to survivors and their loved ones, RCIS is in great need of volunteers! Individuals who have a passion for helping others and want to provide support and resources to those in the community affected by sexual violence are encouraged to volunteer.

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RCIS’s STAR (Sexual Trauma Advocate & Resource) Volunteers complete 10 hours of training to learn how to respond to the needs of survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. Throughout each month, volunteers sign-up for shifts and take hotline calls from home. As RCIS continued to navigate through these unprecedented times, they were able to implement an innovative online scheduler for volunteers to make signing up for shifts on their 24-hour hotline easier and more efficient.

Many of RCIS’s callers are looking for information, resources, or a kind ear to listen and believe their story. Normally, volunteers must also be prepared to accompany a survivor to the hospital during their scheduled shifts. However due to COVID-19, RCIS has suspended all accompaniments until further notice. STAR volunteers are closely supported by RCIS full-time staff and gather throughout the year for debriefing, ongoing trainings and appreciation parties.

To become a hotline volunteer, interested individuals must be at least 18 years of age, successfully pass a criminal background check, reside within one-hour of Carroll Hospital Center, and successfully complete initial RCIS 10-hour training. No experience is required; however we ask potential volunteers to have a high-school diploma, or equivalency, and the desire to help others. For more information on volunteering with RCIS and to locate a volunteer application please visit: www.rapecrisiscc.org/volunteer. For any questions regarding becoming a volunteer, please call the RCIS office at (410) 857-0900 or email khuber@rapecrisiscc.org.

RCIS is here to support you and your loved ones 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you or someone you love is struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out to our 24-hour hotline 410-857-7322 to speak with a specially-trained advocate who is ready to help. RCIS believes you and will be there to support you through every step of your healing process.

Kaity Huber is the SART coordinator for Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it, as our editorial. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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