November Volunteer of the Month



Congratulations to Narcisco, SPAN’s November volunteer of the month!

Nar came to us in the fall 2015, attended our 44 hour paraprofessional training and became a children’s volunteer.  Narcisco has been an awesome addition to our Children’s program; He often takes on extra shifts; and jumps in to engage the kiddos immediately as they arrive.  We are so thrilled to have Nar on the SPAN volunteer team!  Keep reading to learn more about all things Nar…

  1. What keeps you busy when you’re not volunteering at SPAN?

I spend my days working in IT for a research and consulting firm in Boulder.  Working as a kids’ volunteer at SPAN is fulfilling in a way that my day job could never be.  I also work with kids in foster care through the CASA programs of both Boulder and Denver county.  In my spare time I clean up cat and dog fur around the house and enjoy playing the piano (badly).  Not long ago I met someone that makes my heart swell.  Last month I married her.

2.) What made you want to become a volunteer here?

I think there are few things worth doing that are more valuable than simply helping out someone else.  There’s a lot of suffering out there, and I’m grateful for groups like SPAN that do so much work for those who may need it.  The employees and volunteers behind SPAN show much compassion in what they do.  I aspire to do the same, and am grateful to SPAN for the privilege and opportunity.

3.)What keeps you coming back to volunteer?

I love working with the kids.  I love the fort building and the fast action Uno tournaments.  I love the paper airplanes and the hide-and-seek marathons.  I love the coloring, the giant yoga block towers, the rounds of kickball, and the mellow sandbox sessions.  I could go on and on.  Being a children’s volunteer is really more than just play, but it does feel good to drop this semi-façade of being an adult once in a while, and to just have fun.  More than that, though, it’s when you get that rare bear-hug from a kid at the end of group and you get the feeling you did at least one thing right that day.

And I love my kids’ group homies!!  Shout out:  You’re all volunteers of the month in my book!  And probably deserve it more than me!

4.) What is the best part about being a kid?

See answer above.  And having someone else do your laundry.  Plus pay the bills. 

5.) Since volunteering here, what is one thing you have learned about social justice?

We’re surrounded by inequality, bias, and privilege.  Be aware of it as best you can.  There may be times when we benefit from it.  Use that to your advantage to help generate awareness, effect change, and advocate for others.



June Volunteer of the Month

Anna B!


Please join me in celebrating the awesome- Anna.  Anna has volunteered in multiple capacities here at SPAN over the last two years.  She began by taking on the PBJ adult mentor role and then trained to become a court advocate.  In addition, Anna has been a CR facilitator for our para professional anti violence training 3 TIMES in the last year.  Wow!  Our clients and incoming volunteer, interns, and staff have benefited from all Anna brings to each role.

Please read below to learn more about Anna:

Why is social justice work important to you?

I find it hard to put words to why social justice work is important to me.  It sparks the most fundamental parts of my being.

When you aren’t giving your time to SPAN, what do you enjoy doing?

In my free time I also enjoy hanging out with my cats and playing my clarinet.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

If I could be an animal I would be a caterpillar, because is so much promise for transformation.

Where is your favorite place?

My favorite place in the world is wherever my friends and family are.

Thank you, Thank you Anna!

Happy National Volunteer Week!


To our amazing volunteers, interns, and board members,

Please accept our thanks for the time and love you give.  Your support is THE reason that we are able to provide all of the services that we offer. Thank you.

You inspire us. We love you.

Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence

March Volunteer of the Month- Julia H!

Please join me in celebrating all things Julia!  Julia has been volunteering at SPAN as a DART victim advocate since February 2015.  She frequently takes on extra shifts when needed.  Last month Julia completed training to volunteer as on the Crisis Line and is now doing both roles concurrently.  We feel so fortunate to have Julia’s support.  Her compassion and commitment for SPAN clients and creating positive social change is inspiring.  Thank you Julia, for choosing SPAN as the place to give your valuable time.

Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.

I’m from Salt Lake City Ut. I graduated from the U of Utah with a degree in Psych and moved to Mich to attend the U of Mich for a masters in social work. I moved to Co and worked at Poudre Valley Hospital where I did most crises work and had a small out patient practice. Stayed home for 15 years raising my son. While in college I was a river guide on most major rivers in the West, including the Colorado, Yampa, Green, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Selway rivers.

Do you have any special hobbies or interests?

 I still love rafting and kayaking rivers. I’m photographer who has gotten her work into several galleries. I’ve also gotten shows in jury venues such as the Dairy Center of The arts, Boulder Open Studios, Longmont Open Studio tours. I’ve composed and produced music many years ago in another life. Right now I’m doing a lot of writing including prose for a novel, political and social commentary. I’ve read my writing on KGNU. I also writing lots of poetry and performing it at open mic venues such as The Laughing Goat Cafe (which is not possible at this time because Shelter is desperate for me the work on the same night as their open mic). 

What has been your favorite part of volunteering with SPAN?

Favorite part of working at SPAN has been talking to the clients. One in particular was at the county jail. She was so depressed that she was slumped over and looked like she was going to melt into the floor. We talked for an hour and were able to connect. As I got up to leave, she gave me a smile that had me tears as I walked to the car. I felt that I needed that smile as much as she did. I’ll never forget it.

Why is social justice work important to you?

Social justice work is important to me because I’ve felt both empowered and dis-empowered in a lot of ways all my life and see that it’s these inequalities that are a threat to everyone. Fighting for social justice is my way of creating my own meaning for living.

Tell me a story about yourself, but only using SIX WORDS (no more, no less).

Rising, falling rising again, transcendent meaning.

February Volunteer of the Month!


We’re excited to announce our February Volunteer of the Month – Jasmin R!

Jasmin has been a Children’s Volunteer since November 2015 when she joined our team with a tremendous amount of kindness, patience, and enthusiasm. The kids love spending time with Jasmin. She also stepped up and volunteered many extra hours to help us out with projects during the holidays. Jasmin – we so appreciate you and all you contribute to SPAN!

1)      What keeps you busy when you’re not volunteering at SPAN?

I am a romance writer and I make and sell jewelry at craft shows. My next show will be at the Boulder Creek Fest this year.

2)      What made you want to become a volunteer here?

I am passionate about helping people who have been abused. I also love working with children. SPAN has created a wonderful place where I am able to do both.

3)      What keeps you coming back to volunteer?

The kids. They are exciting and full of life. They make my Mondays and Wednesdays super fun.

4)      What is the best part about being a kid?

All the free time I had to create imaginary worlds with barbies and legos. Also all the time I had to draw.

5)      Since volunteering here, what is one thing you have learned about social justice?

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is how important self education is, and how much there is to learn.

January Volunteers of the month!  Somer and Matisse!


Please join us in celebrating Matisse and Somer!  These two wonderful people became SPAN volunteers in June 2015.  They completed our 44 hour training and were immediately active in our Peers Building Justice Program.  Somer and Matisse have been a great support for the Training Institute, contributing lots of good insight to the group, helping with logistics and set up, food, agenda planning, creativity and general silliness. We would not have been able to pull of the fall PBJ retreat to the Colorado 9to25 Youth Summit with out them!  Thank you both so much!

Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.

SS: I graduated in December 2015 from CU Boulder with a BA in international affairs and minors in Spanish and leadership. I’m originally from Atlanta but I’ve also lived in Rhode Island and Spain, where I worked as a nanny and learned Spanish. Now I’m working as a preschool teacher and a barista and hope to continue pursuing social justice work in the Boulder community. I’m passionate about working with children and youth through democratic models of education. In my free time I bake, hangout at my co-op with my 15 housemates and obsessively check the puppy adoption website at the Boulder Humane Society.

MR: I’m from San Diego where I grew up in a grungy beach town with lots of character. I am the oldest of four kids, though the younger two are a good twenty-three years younger than me. I just graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in Ethnic Studies and Social Justice and am figuring out what comes next.

What has been your favorite part of volunteering with SPAN?

SS: My favorite part of volunteering at SPAN has been the opportunity to work the high schoolers in the Training Institute for Peers Building Justice. They are motivated and passionate and I have seen how profoundly they can make an impact when they have a space to be heard and tools to work against systems of violence.  I’m totally in awe of all of them and really grateful to be a part of their work.

MR: My favorite part of volunteering with SPAN so far has been getting to discuss brainstorm, and troubleshoot the design of PBJ Training Institute meetings so that they are youth-led, grounded in social justice, and based on our community’s own experiences.

Why is social justice work important to you?

SS: Social justice work is important to me because I believe that injustice and violence can be combatted through collaboration and building strong communities. I think that by examining not only the world around us, but also ourselves and the stake we have in creating change, we can make a conscious and effective impact in our communities.

MR: Social Justice work is important to me because I realize how insidious oppression is in pretty much everything: the way institutions operate, peoples’ opportunity and mobility, the way we see ourselves, the way people treat each other.

Tell me a story about yourself, but only using SIX WORDS (no more, no less).

SS: Running fast sidewalk crack adios tooth.

MR:  ‘Twere fairy nests in my hair.

Where is your favorite place?       

SS: My favorite place is my grandparent’s house in Pennsylvania, it’s in the countryside and there are miles and miles rolling hay fields and unexplored forests. There is an old barn, lots of horses and a small pond where we have picnics. 

Also fun fact: If you’ve seen the movie Marley and Me, the end of it was filmed on their land!


MR: My favorite place is called Angel Ridge, a high tundra spot on Mt. Evans I have camped at many times. It’s surrounded by stunted, mangled pine trees.

What is your favorite sound?

SS: The squealing/whimpering sound my dog makes when she’s excited that I’m home is the best one of all. 

MR: My favorite sound is baby giggles.


December Volunteer of the Month- Anna C!

Anna Chandler

My Frenchies, The dark one is Gozer and the light one is our rescue Brutus. 

We’re so thrilled  that Anna joined the SPAN volunteer team in the fall of 2014.  She completed our 44hour Paraprofessional Anti Violence Training in October and began volunteering as a DART victim advocate immediately after.  Amazingly, Anna has completed nearly 800 volunteer hours and has taken on a leadership role as a DART captain.  Please join me in celebrating  Anna and her tremendous contribution to SPAN clients!    See below to read more about Anna’s awesome-ness.

  1. Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.

I am a native Oregonian. In Sept of 2012 I decided to sell everything I own, find a job, packed up my Jeep and moved to Florida to get away from the rain after 35 years. I met my boyfriend a month after moving there and he landed a job in Boulder a few months after that. I have been here since. I started out in automotive for five years and ran a parts store by the time I was 21 and was even ASE certified in parts. Somehow, that transitioned easily into healthcare of which I’ve been in for the last fifteen years. I’m currently working on a nursing degree and just started my own business two weeks ago as an errand service.

1. Do you have any special hobbies or interests?

I love to sing! I used to be a singer in a cover band for two years in Oregon shortly before leaving. 

2.  What has been your favorite part of volunteering with SPAN?

Feeling like I’m making a difference. I also like knowing I have finally battled my own demons. 

3. Why is social justice work important to you?

I am a bi-racial woman who has seen quite a lot of injustice to others and myself. I don’t want anyone to feel hopeless and or alone as I once did. There were not the amount of resources there are now twelve years ago. I’m proud of the progress. 

4. Tell me a story about yourself, but only using SIX WORDS (no more, no less).

Caring, humorous, patient, loving, loyal, and feisty.

November Volunteer of the Month:  Valerie S!

Valerie S

Val has gone above and beyond working with survivors of violence.  She is able to multi task in our shelter by supporting survivors in crisis over the phone as well as helping to support the environment of our emergency shelter program.  Without volunteers like Val our shelter program would not be able to provide survivors needing confidential emergency shelter with such a smooth transition during such a time of pain.  We appreciate everything that Val brings to our shelter team and we could not do all that we do without volunteers like her.

We asked Valerie a couple of questions to get to know her better. Read on to see what she had to say!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’m in the process now of applying to master’s programs in Genetic Counseling, so hopefully ten years from now I’ll be practicing in that field. I also want to still be climbing and living somewhere where outdoor recreation is really accessible.

Where is your favorite place in the world (you could have been there or want to be there)?
I love travel, so this is a tricky question. I think my favorite place I’ve been so far is Iguazu Falls, on the border of Argentina and Brazil. It’s so beautiful there, and that was the first trip my sister and I took together as adults, so I have lots of fun memories there. If I could go anywhere new tomorrow, it’d probably be either South Africa, Patagonia, or Iceland.

What is your favorite sound?
I think my favorite sound in the world is when you’re up high on a hike or climb, and it’s quiet where you are, but you can hear that the wind is really loud below you or in a nearby canyon. It makes the landscape feel big and permanent, regardless of what us humans are up to at that moment.

Why did you choose SPAN to volunteer?
I chose to volunteer at SPAN for a lot of reasons, but mostly because nonviolence is a cause that I feel really personally drawn to. I wanted to help support clients as they rebuild their lives, to enable that process in whatever way I can. I think trying to build things in life can be really intimating and difficult, especially if someone is faced with a lot of obstacles, and being able to support someone as they move through that process is really rewarding.

If you were an animal, what would it be?
I think I’d want to be some kind of monkey so I could swing through trees, or maybe a pronghorn so I could run and jump like an antelope. Either one sounds like fun!

October Volunteer of the Month:  Laurie G!


Laurie has been a volunteer at SPAN since 2012. In her role as a volunteer court advocate, Laurie works with SPAN’s legal team to provide information and support to survivors who are navigating the judicial process. We asked Laurie a couple of questions to get to know her better. Read on to see what she had to say!

What is your favorite thing about being a court advocate?

Making a difference in our client’s lives with compassion and sincerity
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A cockapoo puppy, because they are so cuddly, loving and bring a lot of joy to me and my family

Who was your childhood hero and who is your hero now?

Shirley Temple when I was young and today it would have to be my husband.

Congratulations, Laurie, on being SPAN’s October Volunteer of the Month!

September Volunteer of the Month: Mercedes Z!

2015-08-25 11.49.25

Mercy has been a volunteer at SPAN for 7 months. She began as a DART volunteer and then decided to pick up another track and trained to become a children’s volunteer as well! Mercy brings a great deal of warmth, humor, and patience to her volunteer roles & we greatly appreciate her dedication. We asked Mercedes a few questions so you can get to know her better. Here’s what she had to share..

  • What keeps you busy when you’re not volunteering at SPAN?

Most of the time, I work as a Professional Research Assistant for a lab that looks at how young children learn words. Otherwise, I’ve been working on integrating more physical activity in my life, making art, reading, and converting old family VHSes to DVDs. Of course, Netflix likes to nudge all that to the side.

  • What made you want to become a volunteer at SPAN?

I wanted to become more active in my community and learn what ways I can be better to the people around me. SPAN has so much to offer in terms of positively contributing to my community and I find it so wonderful that they are able to share all their knowledge with me and others. I knew that anything I learned with SPAN I could carry on to future environments and relationships if I ever move away.

  • What keeps you coming back to volunteer?

I never feel I could have done something more useful with my time – Everything I do for SPAN feels integral to their success. In addition, children are always a joy. They so easily shift me into seeing new perspectives and to finding excitement out of the littlest things.

  • What is the best part about being a child?

When I was a kid, what I enjoyed the most was learning & mastering new things.

  • Since volunteering here, what is one thing you have learned about social justice?

In particular, SPAN has helped cement the idea that social justice is a constant effort. There’s always more to learn (and unlearn), always more to do, always more to improve how I am contributing.


August Volunteer of the Month: Kara G!


We are so thrilled that Kara joined the SPAN volunteer team in February 2015.   In the last 6 months Kara has trained in not one but THREE different volunteer roles!  She simultaneously supported SPAN clients as a DART victim advocate, Children’s Volunteer, and was just completing the training as a Court Advocate when she was hired as our Transitional Services Advocate this summer.

Kara’s commitment to supporting survivors and working to end violence is evident in all she takes on.  She takes on any challenge that comes up and steps up whenever a need arises.

Keep reading to learn more about Kara’s awesome-ness.

Where were you born? / Where did you do your growing up?  Anything you’d like to share about YOU.

I was raised here in Boulder, and then stayed here to attend CU for my undergrad. Although I grew up here, I’ve never been good at sticking around for very long. I studied abroad in Peru for my junior year, then lived in Chile and India, before completing my Master’s (Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy) in London. I’m super excited to be back here more permanently.

Do you have a 5 or 10 year plan?  If so, would you share it with us?

I just started working at SPAN as their Transitional Services Advocate so I’m planning to stick around here for a while. Long-term I hope to attend law school for immigration law, but that’s a few years out.

Do you have any pets?

I have a black cat named Jackie. She currently lives with my parents as they spoiled her while I was living abroad and let her into the backyard. Apartment living is no longer an option. I also think she misses the dogs too much, even though she pretends she hates them.

Do you like water sports?

Do winter sports count? I enjoy the snow which is technically just frozen water. I already have my ski pass and am looking forward to spending a lot of time in the mountains this winter.

Kara has tirelessly offered all of herself as an advocate and we consider ourselves lucky that she chose SPAN as the organization to give her time as a volunteer and now, as a Full time staff member.  Congratulations Kara!

May Volunteer of the Month- Kim K!!


All of us at SPAN wish to acknowledge the time and energy that Kim has dedicated to SPAN clients.  Kim joined our volunteer team as a Crisis Line volunteer in June 2014 and has been rocking out her volunteer shifts ever since- Amazingly she has given nearly 200 hours of volunteer time in less then one year!  Kim always shows up and gets done what needs to be done.  Without Kim, we would not have been able to support the residents the way we do.  Kim creates a welcoming and comfortable environment for those who are coming into shelter already in crisis.

Miranda, our crisis line volunteer manager caught up with Kim so that we could learn more about her wonderfulness.

1)     What is your favorite quote?

I love quotes but it is difficult for me to pick a favorite.  I have a web page with some of my favorite quotes because there are so many that have messages that I have found profound.  They can distill complex ideas into elegant snippets.  The web page is  here:  http://spot.colorado.edu/~kreutzer/SomeofMyFavoriteQuotes.htm.  If I had to pick one, today I might pick this one:  “In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine.”  – Senator J. William Fulbright

2)     If you could witness any past event, present or future what would it be?

People living in the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde near the peak of the occupation there.  (I used to work there and wonder how close our current interpretation of life there is to what it was really like.)

3)     What sound do you love?

The sound of a gurgling brook in the woods with wildflowers around.

4)     What are your strengths?

The desire to understand others.

We know that outside of shelter you have your own daily routine and life and it amazes us that you continue to be here for so many J THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!



March Volunteer of the Month – Kailey!


YAY!  This month we get to celebrate Kailey!  Kailey joined the SPAN volunteer team in October 2013 as a Children’s Volunteer and has been rocking her role ever since!  Erin, our children’s volunteer manager caught up with Kailey to congratulate her on being awesome and to interview her.  See below to learn more about all things Kailey.

What do you love about working with kids?

So what do I love about working with kids- kids are the most pure form of human beings. When I think about the mind of a child I think of how they probably haven’t yet had the opportunity to form doubts, fears or judgements; they still have a clean slate. With the kids we work with at SPAN, who have been exposed to violence or trauma, that isn’t always the case but you can still find that sentiment. I absolutely love working with the kids because of their creativity, energy and excitement they have. For me, there are very few things that are more fulfilling than making a kid truly laugh or seeing their confidence grow as we play. 

What was your favorite thing about being a kid?

My favorite thing about being a kid was all the silly games I got to play. I could be whoever I wanted wherever I wanted. Little did my neighbors know that when they saw me in the backyard mashing up leaves with a rock, they were actually looking at a nice witch making potions for the animals in her fairy garden. I also had a pet tree. His name was Joe. 

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

If I were an animal I would probably be a dolphin. I’m not a good swimmer, but I am fascinated by the ocean so it would be pretty cool to be able to swim really well, live in the ocean and still have a family that you’re close with. 

Who do you most admire?

It’s hard to give just one name, for who I admire most, but there is one person who really stands out to me right now and it’s actually a kid I worked with through SPAN. This kid was a constant source of laughter, positive energy and light and I know I am not the only person that would say this about him. I admire him for his strength and kindness and I find myself thinking of him when I need inspiration or a good laugh. I feel so incredibly lucky to have met this kid and to have learned as much as I did from him in such a short time. 

We feel so lucky to have Kailey on our volunteer team!   Kailey’s creativity and dedication to SPAN families and kiddos shines through in everything she does.  We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers like Kailey.  THANK YOU!!!

Please join us in celebrating our February Volunteer of the month- Jill!


Jill became a SPAN volunteer in June 2014 when she trained become a Children’s Volunteer.  This past fall Jill decided she wanted to generously offer more of her time to SPAN.  She took on FOUR children’s volunteer shifts weekly- which is double the amount volunteer time that we ask AND trained to become a Court Advocate.  Soon after she completed the Court advocate training she signed up for TWO weekly court advocate shifts- again double the amount of volunteer time!  To recap- Jill, our amazing volunteer, is doing SIX volunteer shifts each week all benefiting SPAN clients. WOW!!

Please read below to learn more about Jill:

I grew up in San Mateo, California and went to the University of Arizona where I earned my BA in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I moved to Boulder with my dog, Kali, last February and love it! When I got here, I started searching for an organization that I could be a part of that would involve helping people. A friend told me about SPAN and when I did some more research I knew it was where I wanted to be. I was excited to learn about SPAN’s dedication to equality and social justice and the training that is provided.

If I could be any animal it would be a dog. I know it’s not very original, but I adore how happy dogs are and the unconditional love they show humans. They provide people with comfort and bring so much joy.

I’m not sure that I had a childhood hero, but I’ve always looked up to and particularly admired my dad. He has a hunger for knowledge and a passion for helping others. He volunteers at a hospice in San Francisco where he sings to and talks with the patients, bringing them some much needed joy.

My favorite cartoon character when I was growing up was Scooby-Doo. Besides being a dog, he is funny and I’ve always loved shows that involve solving mysteries.

Jill, we are so thankful that you chose SPAN as your volunteer “home”.  Thank you for all you do!

January Volunteer of Month- Anna!


Anna came to us late last spring and attended our 44 hour Paraprofessional Anti- violence training in June 2014 and become a Peers Building Justice (PBJ) adult mentor.  Over the last 7 months Anna’s contributions to SPAN and the PBJ program have grown exponentially.  Anna has been super active and supportive of the PBJ Training Institute, a youth led afterschool group that focuses on social justice issues, raising awareness in our community and activism.  She’s also been a huge help in teaching the PBJ violence prevention curriculum, working with the Boulder Youth Violence Prevention Committee and also doing administrative tasks. On top of all of that, this fall Anna went the extra mile and trained to become a Court Advocate as well!! Lucky us, Anna’s passion and commitment to volunteerism has greatly benefited not only the PBJ program but all of SPAN and MESA.

Please join me in celebrating Anna- our wonderful January 2015 Volunteer of the month!

Renee,  the volunteer co-manager of the PBJ program interviewed Anna last week- keep reading to learn more about Anna’s awesome-ness.

Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.

 grew up in Newark, Delaware and attended the University of Connecticut where I received my undergraduate degree in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies.  I’ve been in Colorado for a little over a year now and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to leave!  Now I just need to convince all my friends and family to move out here and join me!

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote of the moment is – “Revolution is not a one time event.” – Audre Lorde

What scent do you love?

My favorite scents are old books, freshly peeled oranges and lavender.

What has been your best or most rewarding experience since becoming a volunteer for SPAN?

My most rewarding experience volunteering with SPAN has been working with the Peers Building Justice Training Institute.  I am so inspired by the enthusiasm, creativity and commitment our campus organizers show toward better understanding social justice issues and creating change through activism.

 December Volunteer of the Month- Rhiannan!


Woo Hoo!!   Please join me in celebrating our December Volunteer of the Month Rhiannan!

Rhiannan has been rocking as a Crisis Line Volunteer since June 2014 and we feel so grateful that she chose SPAN as her volunteer “home”.  Shelter staff love when their shifts overlap with Rhiannan as she is well organized and great with clients. She is dependable, takes initiative, and is super TECH SAVVY!    Rhiannan has even donated personal items to make shelter more comfortable.  What an amazing, inspiring, all around wonderful person!

Miranda, our Crisis Line Volunteer Manager, interviewed Rhiannan- keep reading to learn more about Rhiannan’s awesomeness.

1)      What is your favorite quote?

“And now, here is my secret, a very simple secret; It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

2)      What are your strengths?

One of my strengths is connecting with people regardless of who they are or where they come from. I also play a damn good game of racquetball.

3)      What sound do you love?

There are a couple sounds I love and can think of right away…one is the sound of rain falling on the roof, and the other is the sound of the front door opening when my wife gets home from work.

4)      If you could witness any past event, present or future, what would it be?

It’s hard to pick just one, but I’d choose to witness the women’s peace movement in Liberia that helped end the civil war in 2003. The marches and collective action of those women were remarkable acts of nonviolent protest against Charles Taylor’s very repressive, violent regime. So, it’s one of my favorite social movement success stories.

Thank you Rhiannan for being you and for giving all you do.  You are a rock star!

November Volunteer of the Month- Mattie!


Congratulations to our November Volunteer of the Month- Mattie!

Mattie joined our volunteer team this summer and has already made a huge impact.  She is currently volunteering in TWO roles: DART victim advocate and Crisis Line Volunteer.  Mattie also helps out with tabling and events when she can.  Mattie’s awareness, humor, and dedication to SPAN clients are inspiring!  Keep reading to learn more about Mattie’s awesomeness.

1. Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.

I’m a native Boulderite, having graduated from Fairview High School. I currently attend CU Boulder, expecting to graduate in May with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Classics. My parents are happily divorced, and I live with my Dad, our two dogs (Peaches the bull terrier and Nugget the pug), and our plethora of fish. I someday hope to be a counselor with an MSW, specializing in LGBTQIAP topics. 

2. What are your special hobbies or interests?

I spend most of my days a) watching horrible television shows, b) writing novels, and c) playing the same video games over and over. I also enjoy walking my pug and playing board games with friends.

3.       What has been your favorite part of volunteering with SPAN?

 My favorite part of volunteering with SPAN is interacting with clients, and knowing I bring something to the table that could potentially help them end a cycle of abuse. It’s a very powerful experience interacting with individuals affected by domestic violence. I think my volunteer work has not only helped me build interpersonal skills, skills for dealing with crisis situations, but also helped me grow as person. Volunteering with SPAN has been so much more than work experience: it has really shaped the way I think about and approach the world. 

4.       Why is social justice work important to you?

 Social justice is important to me because I have so much privilege, and that’s simply not fair. Systemic injustice makes it so everyone doesn’t have the same chance to succeed in life because of things we can’t choose like the color of our skin, who we love, or how we choose to express our gender. I think everyone needs to do their part to lessen the inequalities our society creates in a way that considers the intersectional nature of identities. Volunteering with SPAN is my way of doing that. 


5.       Tell me a story about yourself, but only using SIX WORDS (no more, no less).

At home, I am sleeping… ninja!

Thank you Mattie, for being you and all you do. We are so thrilled to have you on the SPAN team. 



October Volunteer of the Month- Julia!

Julia Davis

Hooray!!  Please join me in congratulating our awesome October volunteer of the month- JULIA!

Julia came to SPAN in October 2013 and over the last year has jumped into all things SPAN head first!  Julia generously participates in two volunteer roles; as a DART victim advocate (team lead!) and as Outreach Center support.  She also took on the role of CR facilitator in June and helped to support a group of new staff, volunteers, and interns throughout their Anti- Violence training. Not only does she consistently rise above and beyond to serve SPAN clients, she always does it with a calm presence and a smile.

Hanna, our DART volunteer manager, caught up with Julia to ask the hard hitting questions.

1.       Tell me a little about your background – where you’re from, family, work/education experience, anything you’d like to share here, really.

I was born and raised in Chicago, a place that is near and dear to my heart, but I have also found homes in the Indian and Chinese Himalayas, in the rolling hills of Virginia and alongside Colorado’s Flatirons. I am in my last semester at Naropa University, finishing an undergraduate degree in Peace Studies with minors in Contemplative Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies. I see my education as a tool empowering me toward service. My passion is healing in its many forms.

2.       Do you have any special hobbies or interests?

Haha – right now, I think my biggest hobby and interest is SPAN. No lie. I love sitting at the front desk, talking with clients while they wait for appointments, cracking jokes with interns, and sampling SPAN staff’s amazing baking. Outside of SPAN, I love drinking tea in big round mugs, going for bike rides on sunny days, reading a really good book, and spending time with my favorite people. I also like dogs, babies, the color purple (and The Color Purple), chocolate, wildflowers, fresh local produce, coffeeshops, bacon, traveling, singing, playing “C” “D” and “G” chords on the guitar, and eating dessert.

3.       What has been your favorite part of volunteering with SPAN?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. I guess I’d have to say the people. Rarely in my life have I encountered so many incredible human beings in one place! SPAN staff, volunteers, interns, and clients have taught me so much, made me laugh so hard, and inspired me to no end. I am so grateful for every interaction I have had at SPAN and every relationship I have cultivated – there is no doubt in my mind that I am a more whole person because of being a part of SPAN’s community.

4.       Why is social justice work important to you?

Social justice work is important to me because it is important to the world! Because it is essential to our culture and our planet’s healing and to my own. It propels growth, cultivates connection, and creates wholeness. 

5.       Tell me a story about yourself, but only using SIX WORDS (no more, no less).

 You stumped me and that’s okay.


September Volunteer of the Month- Ashley!

ash millssnow

Yay!  Time to celebrate our September Volunteer of the month- Ashley!

Ashley has generously given her time as a Children’s volunteer since June 2013.  Over the last 16 months Ashley has consistently risen to meet the challenges and joys of being a Children’s volunteer.  The kiddos know that when Ashley is volunteering she is available to play and provide whatever is needed.

Shannon Bauer (Outreach children’s counselor) recently caught up with Ashley to congratulate her and interview her.

With your busy schedule and all of the wonderful things you do, what made you decide to volunteer as a children’s volunteer at SPAN?

As a peace studies student at Naropa University, SPAN had been on my radar for quite awhile due to its strong stance on equality and nonviolent social change.  In addition, I recently spent a year living in Salida, CO where I worked at the local Boys & Girls Club.  It was there that I truly fell in love with children – especially those who are underprivileged.  They have such a strong yet extremely sensitive character.  The whole experience left me with a desire to do more.   After graduating, I had some extra time and I wanted to spend it giving back to my community.  SPAN seemed like the wisest choice because it blended my passions – nonviolence, social change and amazing kiddos.

If you could have had one super hero power growing up, what would it have been?  Is that the same one you would choose now?

While growing up, I would have loved to be able to see in the future.  This would have worked in a couple of different ways.  I’m a very impatient person but much calmer if I know something is coming for sure.  If I knew some events were/weren’t going to happen then I could have relaxed.  Also, even though I have learned such valuable lessons on my path, I would have chosen to go left instead of right all those moons ago.

Today, I would absolutely love to talk to animals.  I would apologize for the destruction and pain humans have caused them.  I’d thank them for the countless lessons they have taught us, and also let them know I love them with all of my heart and will continue to do everything I can to make this world a better place for them and for us.

What do you like to do when you aren’t having a blast with the kids at SPAN?

When I’m not at SPAN, I enjoy spending quality time with my adorable kitties along with my family and friends.  I also take pleasure in spending time in nature – whether it’s just a walk to the neighborhood park, biking to work or going on a hike in the foothills.

What has been your best experience with the kids so far at SPAN?

Shelter can be a pretty scary place for young children.  There was a little girl staying there who was extremely reserved when I first met her.  Her mom told us that she was very shy and probably wouldn’t play much.  When I introduced myself to her, I knelt down beside her so we would be on the same level and used a very soft yet cheerful tone of voice.  While I was preparing for group to start I would catch her peeking around corners watching me.  So then I started a game with her where I would imitate her by hiding behind corners and peeking at her.  She thought it was the best thing as she would run away laughing then a few minutes later would come back to start again.  The game really burst her shell as she became my little shadow.  We had a great time playing in group with the other kiddos and the other volunteers.  The next time I went to shelter, she yelled my name and kids group!  Sometimes a little play is all we need to reach another.  Good for both her and me.

If you had to choose an ice cream that best represented you, what ice cream would you choose?

Rocky Road – I’ve overcome many rocks on my life’s road but the paths in between have been filled with lots of sweetness.

We are so grateful to Ashley for being an awesome volunteer and friend.  Your calm and playful presence is always appreciated.  Thank you for all you do!


August Volunteer of the Month – Esme!


Congratulations to Esme our August volunteer of the month!  Esme joined us recently and has already taken on two volunteer roles; as a PBJ adult mentor and a DART victim advocate.  She also continues to take on extra duties like tabling at events!  We are thrilled to have Esme as part of the SPAN family.

Amanda Kemphues, PBJ’s co coordinator at MESA, interviewed Esme so we could shine this spotlight on all things Esme:

If I could have any super power to combat sexual and domestic violence, I would become “Empathy Woman”! I would be able to fill my targets with the memories and emotions of those with less privilege at the snap of my fingers. Abusers would crumble before me as the true impact of their actions washed over them.

If PBJ had endless resources, I would want our curriculum to be a required course in all high schools. All students in America (nay, the world!) would take math, science, language arts, and social justice! The next generation of students would create a world where every single person understands privilege, healthy relationships, gender, and consent.

My favorite self care activity is taking a bath. I picture the water washing away any worries and negative thoughts.

Art is extremely important for activism because it is the most effective tool we have for allowing people to look into the lives of those who struggle. We can hit them with the facts and statistics, but art will make them feel something.

Esme recently experienced a sexist practice by a local business and immediately took an active role to interrupt it!  She contacted the business, circulated a petition, and they discontinued with the degrading practice.  Way to go Esme!  Your commitment to allyship, activism, and your volunteer roles are inspiring!

July Volunteer of the  Month – Patricia!

Patricia Murphy

Patricia began volunteering with SPAN in October 2010 as a DART advocate and since then has been a court advocate, crisis line volunteer, and has given much of her time to be an on call staff member. She went to school for Criminal Justice and Criminology at Metro State University of Denver and graduated in 2009.  Her dedication to being an active agent of change is evident in her participation with many other organizations such as Court Appointed Special Advocate, Victims Advocate with Westminster’s police department, “Volunteer on Probation” with Westminster Municipal Court, and her on going passion to use her voice and give her time to support others. A little more about Patricia:

What are your favorite quotes? I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” by Edward Everett Hale, and, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes”, Author Unknown.

What sound do you love? I love the sound that “Spring Peeper” frogs make after sunset in late May.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be? Some time, hopefully not very far in the future:  the U.S. Department of Labor announces that the “gender pay gap” has been reduced from 23% down to 0%.

SPAN would like to thank Patricia for putting her heart and soul into working with our clients!

June Volunteer of the Month- Alexis!


SPAN is so excited to announce June’s Volunteer of the Month Alexis.  Alexis has volunteered at SPAN in the Court Advocate position since October 2013.  Alexis continually goes above and beyond for SPAN’s clients, often coming to the court house on her days off to assist and support clients, offering up her laid back approach that allows clients to feel comfortable and supported immediately. In addition to her Court Advocate role, Alexis will soon be volunteering to lead a trauma informed Yoga class for shelter residents.

Long before finding her way to SPAN Alexis had dedicated her life to working with people impacted by domestic violence. She enjoys her role as a Court Advocate because she enjoys helping people to feel safer and to find closure.

If Alexis’s life had a theme song it would be the Theme song to the Cartoon “Adventure Time.” As a child she was mischievous, strange, and happy and if she had to choose a  super power it would be the ability to teleport.  Her favorite mythical creature is a Griffin because of it is a combination of feline and bird characteristics.

Thank you Alexis for all the time, energy, love, and commitment that you give to SPAN and to our clients! We are so happy to have as a volunteer!


Volunteer Raine Lourie Applauds SPAN Training / May 2014

“I’ve been volunteering for Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence for almost a year now, and it has been a great experience “in the trenches” of social work, outside of anything I’ve done before, and filled with opportunities for reflection, challenges, and growth. They have a new volunteer training program starting in June which I HIGHLY recommend. The training program in itself was an incredible growth experience, and made me aware of race, gender, abuse, and oppression in a way I never had been before. It felt like I should have been paying thousands of dollars for a training program like that! Amazing compensation in addition of the reward of volunteering.

If you are curious about participating in this amazing training and being part of an organization doing powerful work for people in unfathomably difficult situations, check out the upcoming training. Let me know if you want the inside scoop on any of it, I’d be happy to talk about my experience!”


Spotlight on Eryn: May Volunteer of the Month 2014


Congratulations to Eryn–SPAN’s Volunteer of the Month! Eryn has been volunteering as a DART victim advocate since October 2012 and has been an excellent team leader since fall 2013. Recently, one of the staff positions on the legal advocacy team opened up and Eryn generously offered to help out by doing anything she could, including extra DART shifts and administrative support. Wow!  We’re so lucky to have Eryn as an integral part of our volunteer team.

Veronica Horn, SPAN’s Legal Advocacy Director caught up with Eryn to congratulate her on being the Volunteer of the Month and interview her.

With your busy schedule and all of the wonderful things you do, what made you decide to volunteer as a Victim Advocate for SPAN? I do stay busy as a full time student at Naropa, in Contemplative Psychology, working on my Yoga Teacher Training Certification, other work at the University, and Athleta. However, it was SPAN that ignited my passion of exploring self-evolution and healing from oppression. I feel honored with every opportunity to help a survivor of domestic violence. I love being witness to someone discovering the path of independence. It is never easy to wake-up in the middle of the night to take a call from someone in trouble, but I am continually amazed by the survivor’s capacity to receive support and find personal empowerment.

What has been your best or most rewarding experience since becoming a volunteer for SPAN? My most rewarding experience was just last night. A woman found liberation from an abusive partner by connecting to her own inner-strength. She described to me that she wanted and deserved more. She felt supported by the Safehouse and friends to leave the relationship that once defined her. I appreciated her strong spirit and will-power.

What were you like as a kid? I was an unusual child. I loved being girly and fashionable, but liked toy trucks and playing in the mud too. I was raised in a minority family that created a thriving landscaping and nursery business in Ohio. I spent most of my childhood dressed-to-impress, wandering the woods, collecting arrowheads, insects, and playing with frogs.  When old enough to reach the pedals on the golf carts, I would take the nursery frogs on joy rides.

What do you want to be when you grow-up? While I am forever young at heart, I hope to continue growing into more of who I already am. Impassioned, vibrant, and full of heart for my community, basic human rights, and putting an end to human suffering. I plan to do this by sharing with the world what I am learning at NaropaUniversity and through my own life experience. I connect deeply to the ancient teachings of Tantra Yoga and would like to start my own nutrition, and Yoga Therapy practice. Additionally, I would like to get more involved in solving social injustices, and possibly get additional education in International Law. It is my dream to end-up in Indonesia, and start a nonprofit that helps people escape human trafficking.

Eryn has taken on double shifts when needed, frequently receives positive feedback from the clients she supports and advocates for, handles challenging cases with poise and compassion, and is just plain cool!


Volunteer Spotlight is on Amy — April 2014

VOM Apr2014 Amy

Amy has been generously giving her time to SPAN since October 2013.  She is a children’s volunteer and also helps out with events, representing SPAN at fairs and festivals. Just last month Amy added yet another SPAN volunteer role to her list when she trained to become a Court Advocate.

SPAN staff member Shannon (Children’s Volunteer Manager) caught up with Amy recently to ask her how the volunteering was going, and a few other important questions. .

With your busy schedule and all of the wonderful things you do, what made you decide to volunteer as a children’s volunteer at SPAN? I like working with kids because we have a lot in common–a love of games, bad jokes, coloring, and using our imagination. I think SPAN does great things in our community and I’m excited to be a part of it. 

What were you like as a kid? I read a lot, made original puff paint creations a lot, and loved push-up pops. 

If you could have had one super hero power growing up, what would it have been?  Is that the same one you would choose now? For a time I actually thought I could control the weather (pretty easy in Colorado–I usually willed it to be sunny). Now, for my super power I’d like to be able to control time.

What do you like to do when you aren’t having a blast with the kids at SPAN? I like to read and watch movies, craft silly things, play trivia and kickball with friends, and take naps. 

 What has been your best experience with the kids so far at SPAN? I loved when we built our own terrariums! The kids where incredibly knowledgeable about the plants we were using and about creating healthy ecosystems. It was fun to watch them teach each other what they know. 

Amy’s commitment to serving survivors and their families is evident in all she does for SPAN clients.  Thank you Amy for your time and for being you!


Volunteer Steps Up & Reaches Out to Boulder City Council

Dear Council,

I am writing to echo the appreciation that Ana Silvia Avendano-Curiel and Lisa Darby expressed at last week’s meeting for your support of the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) and SPAN’s Transitional Housing services.

I’d like to reiterate Ana Silvia’s invitation for you to visit the SPAN Shelter to better understand the context of SPAN’s work and the services we provide to the Boulder community.

My experiences having volunteered and worked at the SPAN Shelter since 2012 include regular conversations with clients around post-Shelter housing needs and the importance of affordable housing programs being in place to support them in their transition out of domestic violence situations.  I have seen over and over again how Boulder’s ongoing efforts on this front are profoundly transformative in the lives of these families and individuals.  Thank you for your continued support of this work.

-Alana Wilson


Volunteer Spotlight Shines on Courtney: March 2014


Max…He Really Did Eat Her Homework

Courtney has been volunteering for SPAN since 2012, starting out as a Crisis Line volunteer and then joining the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART). She goes to school at CU Boulder, majoring in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and minoring in Biochemistry and Math. If that’s not enough, Courtney also volunteers her time with other programs such as Real Choices Pregnancy Center; she is also working hard to get into graduate school. Courtney is a great volunteer and this spotlight is well deserved for all the amazing work she does at SPAN. Whether it is shoveling snow or showing compassion to our clients, Courtney does the work with a great attitude and efficiency.

Who is your favorite person and why? My dad. He taught me to work hard and pursue my dreams.

If you could only eat 1 meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Vegetarian nachos.

Do you have any fun and exciting plans for Spring/Summer Time? Hopefully I will be working at Denver Children’s Hospital as a pediatric research intern over the summer.

What do you want to do when you grow-up? Clinical biochemical genetics.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering for SPAN (besides your wonderful volunteer managers of course)? Meeting and working with awesome clients, fellow volunteers, and SPAN staff members.


VOM Feb2014Laurie Gabrielsen photo

Shining the Light on Laurie this February

Laurie has been a volunteer with SPAN since February of 2012 and is currently in a Court Advocate position. She volunteers to make a difference in her community and enjoys working with clients so that she can “be their friend” even if only for a few hours, on one day. Laurie states that she feels proud of the clients she has worked with that have successfully gotten legal Protection Orders.

When she is not busy assisting clients Laurie enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her grand kids. If Laurie could have one super power it would be going back in time, preferably to a time in the early 1900’s when life seemed simpler and family was important.  She’d also like to have dinner with Santa Claus so that she could hear all about giving to the less fortunate, and the joy of the holiday season. If Laurie’s life had a theme song it would be, “People who love people, are the luckiest people in the world.”

We here at SPAN think we are among the, “luckiest people in the world” to have such an amazing advocate like Laurie on our team. Her good nature and kind heart make her an compassionate advocate and we thank her for all she does for SPAN and its clients. We appreciate you so much Laurie!


January Volunteer Spotlight on Devin

Although Devin is our most junior captain, she stood out from day one with her enthusiasm and commitment. Prior to her nomination as a captain she was already reaching out to her teammates and supporting newer volunteers. She often works cases outside of her primary and secondary shifts; going to the jail with other teammates on their shifts and making follow up calls into Monday morning. She is one of the advocates that regularly goes on scene, demonstrating the highest level of commitment to our clients. Her spirit is contagious and her smile makes a high stress volunteer role fun.

To kick off our “get to know Devin questions” we began with why SPAN?  Devin’s answer, “I am volunteering at SPAN because in the future I’d like to be a counselor for struggling families, and I’d like to make a difference in their lives.” In her free time Devin can be found snowboarding, backpacking, scrapbooking, and is a super football fan!  She has been working at the JeffersonCounty for Mental Health since this fall and is gearing up for grad school in the near future. As a young person, Devin didn’t have just one special imaginary friend, she had thousands, and they would all make mud pies and soup together! When we asked Devin is she had a particular SPAN memory to share with us her reply was, “It’s very hard to choose one particular memory. During my time at SPAN I’ve met so many wonderful people and I have many memories with all of them. I’m truly blessed to be a volunteer here.”

We are so thrilled to have Devin as part of the SPAN team.  Devin, you provide excellent support and advocacy to our clients and we couldn’t do what we do without you!