My Volunteer Experience at Casa de Esperanza with Macalester’s Bonner Community Scholar Program
Friday, April 9th, 2021
By Analeidi Barrera
In my second year at Macalester college, I had the incredible opportunity as a Bonner Scholar to work with a nonprofit of my choosing. The Bonner Community Scholar Program partners with service organizations in Minnesota that center social justice, civic engagement, and community building. Casa de Esperanza’s volunteer opportunities were a natural fit because of my desire to work with the Latin@ community and speak Spanish.
After going through the Family Advocacy interview process, I was beyond thrilled to hear that I had been accepted. I was trained to know more about the Latin@ community and Casa de Esperanza’s trauma-informed and culturally-specific approach to ending domestic violence. Eventually, I started shadowing emergency crisis calls and answering them myself. Answering crisis calls was not easy, but knowing that I was able to help people was rewarding. I worked with some of the most supportive and knowledgeable people that I have ever encountered. The advocates at Casa de Esperanza are quick on their feet, sympathetic, and think deeply before providing an answer to a question. Some of the people that I am very grateful to have worked with are Irene Ochoa, Teresa Burns, Sarahi Mateo, Danielle Sullivan, and Lucia Rojas.
I also had the incredible opportunity to help with different projects. At the beginning of my internship I conducted a survey that improved services for Casa de Esperanza’s shelter participants. Now, during my last year in college, I’m Casa de Esperanza’s Volunteer Ambassador so I oversee all of their volunteers in Minnesota. For one of my big projects during the pandemic, I developed a training instructing volunteers on how to answer crisis calls. I have had the chance to support Casa de Esperanza in many ways and each one of them has provided me with an invaluable learning experience.
In May 2021 I will be graduating from Macalester and I intend to carry what I’ve learned as a volunteer into my future career. Working at Casa de Esperanza has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. It has opened my eyes to wide-ranging topics about the Latin@ community and domestic violence that I didn’t know were related. From the beginning of my internship to this day, I have had the honor of learning through a hands-on approach and am immensely grateful for it.
If you are interested in volunteering with Casa de Esperanza or becoming the next Minnesota ambassador, check our webpage for openings. We are currently recruiting a remote Community Activist and a Public Policy Intern. If you’re interested in either of these opportunities, apply here or email email@example.com with questions.