Being an advocate for the first national domestic violence helpline specifically for Native Americans is such an honor and blessing. Not only do StrongHearts advocates get to help our Native people, but we also get a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.
I, myself, am a survivor of domestic violence, so being able to make an impact in the life of someone who has experienced domestic violence is what inspired me to be a part of the StrongHearts Native Helpline team. I believe I have something to offer our callers other than a resource. I can understand some of the difficult dynamics of being in an abusive relationship, and how much strength, courage, determination and safety planning it takes to leave.
Every call is unique. As an advocate, we never know what kind of call we are going to get. One call can be an intense crisis call and the next one could be someone simply looking for information. Each time we must be emotionally, mentally and spiritually prepared for anything.As advocates we strive to give the best support possible for each unique call. Whether we provide a listening ear, help with safety planning, answers to questions about domestic violence or connections to resources, we are always willing to help in any way we can.
For our callers, it’s important for us to provide an open, judgment-free environment, so it is encouraging for us when a caller trusts us enough to open up about the hard issues they are facing. Sometimes, having those conservations can be difficult for our callers, so we like to focus on encouragement, support and positivity. We are here to try and shine a little light on a dark situation.
Regardless of the difficulty, it is always rewarding to hear from the caller that we have helped them. Whether it is with their words or tone of voice, it is that moment that makes our work worth it. We get satisfaction in the small victories with hopes of bigger victories for the caller. It is our callers that motivate us to keep doing what we are doing. They impact our lives more than they know.
Our callers motivate us to be better as an organization, better as advocates, and become better people. Ultimately, they help us strive to give the best support possible.
From my advocate heart, I would like to take the time to say thank you for being the strong, brave and resilient Native you are and giving us a call.
Names are withheld to protect the privacy and safety of our advocates.