Frankie Fowler Volunteer of the Year, Past Winners:
2018 – Virginia Morgan
Virginia Morgan has been a data entry volunteer in the SA Victim Advocacy Program since January 2015. Virginia has excelled in this role for 3 years, giving over 250 hours of service.
The program’s mission is to accompany every adult and adolescent sexual assault survivor who undergoes a medical forensic exam in Travis County. Virginia has entered thousands of volunteer hours, medical accompaniment reports (MARs), ACES questionnaires and advocate feedback forms into our database. Reading and interpreting the MARs involves trauma exposure and requires emotional maturity and discretion. She understands the complex issues faced by sexual assault victims and her sensitivity to accurate documentation impacts the quality of follow-up services we’re able to provide.
Virginia is incredibly organized, efficient and punctual. Her commitment and dedication to SAFE are unwavering. She’s entered data on countless evenings, weekends and holidays. Her New Year’s plans have included data entry for our program for the last 3 years. As a data entry volunteer, Virginia’s work is in the background, yet is instrumental to the operation of our program.
In addition, since May 2016, Virginia has been assisting SAFE’s Grants staff as a volunteer. She provides summaries of research studies findings, for use in grant applications, and she also researches some grant opportunities, all of which is much appreciated.
She’s always genuinely enthusiastic to help and has consistently thanked us for the opportunity to volunteer in almost every email for the last several years. Truly, we are the ones who are thankful.
2018 COMMUNITY CHAMPION GROUP AWARD WINNER
The volunteer Legal Advocates team works as a cohesive unit 52 weeks a year, 3 times a week for protective order court. To put this into numbers, 29 volunteers have put in 2148.76 hours in 2017 over approximately 145 shifts. The team works with roughly 850-900 clients a year and speaks with almost 3000 people in the protective order process. This form of community advocacy supports not only the applicants (clients) but also their family, support members, children, respondents, and more.
There have been days that the organization has been closed but because this team knows that clients will still show up for protective order court they go above and beyond to make sure they are there for the clients when they arrive at court. It is hard work and the team takes on the challenge every single day. There are some days that are harder and their hearts are exhausted. They maintain boundaries and help a client feel empowered as the client makes a decision to drop a PO. Those are the times they remember that they are there for the client and not to tell the client what to do.
The advocates have been trained well and know that the negative emotions are not about them and are amazing at deescalating volatile situations and asking for assistance when necessary. For a large percentage of our clients this is their first interaction and encounter with SAFE. The legal advocates are motivated and ready to share what the client is ready to hear.
This is a team operates away from the SAFE campus, so is sometimes forgotten. But it is an incredibly strong, independent, and autonomous team. We appreciate them with all of our hearts.
2017 – Chelsea Boundy
Chelsea Boundy has been a volunteer Sexual Assault Advocate (SAA) since 2013. As an SAA, Chelsea signs up for three 8-hour on-call shifts a month, during which time she is ready at a moment’s notice to support adolescent and adult survivors of acute sexual assault at Eloise House, University of Texas, or Travis County hospitals.
SAAs provide face-to-face crisis intervention, safety planning, advocacy, support, and information to survivors. Without volunteer SAAs, there would be no realistic way for SAFE to serve so many sexual assault survivors on a 24/7 basis—their work is crucial!
Chelsea has excelled in the SAA role for 3 1/2 years. During this time, she has given over 1,000 hours of service and has personally accompanied 33 sexual assault survivors. One of the greatest challenges of being a volunteer SAA is keeping up with our ever-changing program, but Chelsea shines in this area.
When she started, exams were conducted exclusively in hospitals. She has transitioned seamlessly as our program has grown with the construction of Eloise House and the addition of UT as an exam site. Beyond her fantastic work with survivors, Chelsea is a senior volunteer who helps train new advocates on their initial buddy shifts. She is a leader for other volunteers.
She also finds other ways to contribute to SAFE’s mission, such as participating in the holiday Sponsor a Family program. Chelsea is an incredible asset to our Forensic Nursing and Advocacy Program, to SAFE, and most importantly, to the survivors we serve. .
2016 – Larry Justice
Larry Justice began volunteering in the kitchen in 2014. In just one year Larry has volunteered over 650 hours. His commitment to clients and staff is unwavering. He comes in every day with a smile and an attitude of gratefulness. He thanks us for being here, when truly we are the ones who are thankful. He assists Vannessa in the kitchen with food prep and service, ensuring that all our children in the Charter School and Child Development Center receive a balanced, healthy meal. Not only is he committed to our children, but to staff as well. He tirelessly supports Vannessa in the kitchen. He went above and beyond by receiving a food handler’s permit. He covers for Vanessa, our staff cook when she is out, which is immensely. Every month we celebrate staff birthdays with a lunch and he contributes in any way he can, whether that be coming in early to help with the meal preparation, donating money, or cleaning up after everyone has eaten. Larry is willing and able to work anywhere there is a need, from taking trash out on the playground to lending a hand in the pantry and warehouse, he has done it all. Words do not express the true gratitude we have for Larry. He really is something special. Back to top
2015 – Geneva Pous
Geneva has been tireless in her service to the Children’s Services Program since she came on board as a volunteer in 2012. In the past three years she has contributed nearly 500 hours to the children and youth at SafePlace. The focus of the Children’s Program is to provide fun, safe and therapeutic activities to children ranging in age from zero to teens. As part of this program which supports children and youth in our residential and non-residential programs Geneva has assisted in providing direct service care to children participating in afterschool activities, extended activities, summer enrichment program, weekend activities, and evening groups. Last summer, Geneva dedicated her entire summer to volunteer with our Summer Enrichment Program. She was essentially another staff member. She was available every day of program and volunteered between 4 – 7 hours a day. Geneva also assisted on offsite field trips. We have always been able to count on her as another positive & safe adult that children can seek out for support. There have been countless occasions when staff noticed Geneva providing one to one support to children who were having difficulty staying with the group or transitioning activities. Geneva will stay with a particular child until he or she is ready to transition back to the group. When Geneva is not supporting kids in after school & summer program, she can be found in any one of our evening support groups. On some days Geneva has come in for afterschool activities and stayed to help run evening children’s groups. Geneva has not only provided support to the children, but to staff as well. She has been a person we can call on if someone is out sick or if we need additional coverage for activities or groups.We are so grateful to have Geneva as part of our Children’s Services family. It is because of volunteers like Geneva that we are able to do the work that we do and support children and their families in the healing process.
2014 – Antoinette Moore
Antoinette Moore joined the SafePlace community in June of 2012, but you wouldn’t know it by all she’s accomplished in that time! She has served as a Shelter Clinic volunteer, House Support volunteer and Volunteer Leadership Committee Team Building Coordinator. In her initial role at SafePlace, Antoinette was our only volunteer Clinic volunteer, and she was incredible! She was patient, flexible, and supportive and handled everything with the sense of humor. Antoinette later joined the Shelter House Support volunteer program. Proactive, quick on her feet and solid in her boundaries with clients, she thrived in the shelter. When she learned that Shelter clients wanted more books to read, she began fundraising to get a bookshelf to put in the laundry room. A book cart was donated to the library project and Antoinette donated the $345 plus dollars she raised to Children’s Services, to get the kids their special request books.
In addition to her work at the Shelter, Antoinette also serves on the Volunteer Leadership Committee (VLC) whose mission is to build community among SafePlace volunteers. Ever searching for new ways to help, Antoninette expanded her role to become VLC Team Building Coordinator, organizing monthly Volunteer Projects involving all SafePlace volunteers and benefiting a range of programs at SafePlace. “Antoinette has terrific initiative. Her enthusiasm and energy makes it very easy to work with her,” says Children’s Services Director Yvette Mendoza Rouen. Antoinette has been a tremendous asset to our organization and it has been exciting to watch her grow and become such a strong advocate for social change and care for survivors. Back to top
2013 – Gayle Anderson
Gayle Anderson, embodies the dedication and commitment it takes to work toward bringing an end to sexual and domestic violence. She has been a volunteer in the Sexual Assault Hospital Advocacy Program (SAHAP) since July 2011 and in that time she has contributed over 1,300 hours. The mission of the SAHAP is to accompany every adult and adolescent sexual assault survivor who goes to the emergency room in Travis County to have a forensic medical examination. Sexual assault advocates provide face-to-face crisis intervention, advocacy, support and information to survivors. Gayle is on-call for two to three shifts a week. (Volunteers are only required to cover two to three shifts a MONTH). She goes way above and beyond the call of duty. She is a pillar of our program. She has accompanied over 65 sexual assault survivors at Saint David’s Medical Center since she started not even two years ago. She has been on-call over 1200 hours – that equates to almost 7½ months of 40 hours a week /full-time work. Gayle is a senior advocate who trains and mentors new advocates in the program. Her leadership has been instrumental in the program’s overall growth. Her caring commitment to survivors of sexual assault is a gift to the entire community. She assists at a number of SafePlace awareness and fund-raising events, too, lending her whole-hearted support to our agency. Back to top
2012 – Janet Heher
Janet started with SafePlace 12 years ago as a Hotline Volunteer and after a couple of years decided to train to be a Legal Advocate. She has been a vital part of the Legal Advocacy program for ten years now and has assisted protective order applicants when they go to court to obtain their final two year protective orders. This is a particularly frightening time for clients and requires great focus and multi-tasking abilities. Janet goes to court on a consistent basis twice a week, arriving early and having to pay for her own parking in the crowded downtown legal arena. She also goes to court many times on a 3rd day of the week, helping out the Travis County Attorney prosecutors in talking with crime victims subpoenaed for court. She speaks Spanish and can instantly bring a smile to a Spanish speaker when she responds to them in their native language. If that were not enough, she also can sign ASL! Janet is also a wonderful role model and mentor for the new volunteers who can find the court atmosphere very intimidating. Back to top
2011 – Sharon Mitchell
Sharon Mitchell began volunteering with survivors of sexual violence in the hospital advocacy program only six years ago, providing more than 700 volunteer hours to numerous survivors at local hospitals. Because she is a survivor of sexual assault and volunteered as a hospital advocate since 1999 at a Georgia rape crisis center, she has a profound compassion and understanding of sexual assault survivors’ needs. She even assists with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner trainings by role playing so the nurses can better understand the needs of a survivor during the exam. Hundreds of survivors and their families have benefited from Sharon’s calm presence and kind and compassionate heart – not to mention her unwavering commitment to end violence. Back to top
2010 – Maridy Dandeneau
Maridy Dandeneau started her work with the SafePlace Emergency Shelter as an intern in the advocacy program. From there she has given her time, talent, energy, commitment and heart. She has given countless hours of volunteer work to SafePlace, where she has assisted women with writing their resumes, worked on shelter beautification and volunteers in the food services program. She has even spent the last few months offering her baking and cooking skills to make birthday and other celebratory cakes to make everyone feel cared for. Maridy at times also does relief work, saying, “The most important work I do is during my volunteer time.” Maridy sees a need, creates a plan, asks for input and then sets out to get the need met. She has great boundaries, is ethical, professional and respectful. She is a true “Renaissance Woman” and can do just about everything. Back to top
2009 – Greg Magness
Greg Magness is by far one of the most dependable and flexible hospital advocates at SafePlace. He consistently takes two shifts each month, which covers an average of 24-29 hours of on-call availability. He has contributed to over 1,650 hours of volunteer work and supported hundreds of survivors. Greg is conscientious at explaining to survivors their rights as well as their options. Most stated how at first seeing Greg they were a bit confused at seeing a man after being raped, but after sitting with Greg they were grateful he was there to support them in their time of need. One survivor stated, “It was healing for me to be supported and listened to so early after the assault especially by a man…by a Good Man.” Back to top
2008 – Ravi Subramanian
Ravi Subramanian has been volunteering at SafePlace for eight years and has donated more than 600 volunteer hours. He has volunteered in the children’s services program including facilitating childrens groups and with holiday donations. Ravi works well with any age group assigned, but gravitates toward the most challenging groups. Ravi has shown extreme comfort and confidence in dealing with any age and gender, which is a unique trait. He strives to pull the most out of the children without crossing boundaries. Ravi was recognized in 2008 KUT Radio’s Get Involved Audio Portrait for his outstanding work at SafePlace. Back to top
2007 – Joanne Marsey
Joanne Marsey is a very reliable and flexible hospital advocate volunteer taking regular hospital shifts averaging 22 hours of on call availability. Joanne has been a volunteer for SafePlace since 2003 and has provided over 1,015 hours of service. Joanne possesses all of the necessary qualities for an effective hospital advocate volunteer, such as having the ability to communicate clearly and having a soothing presence to put survivors and their families at ease. She is very knowledgeable about the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) examination and legal processes that follow the hospital visit. With Joanne’s in depth experience, she now acts as a SafePlace Hospital Advocate mentor, assisting with training new volunteers. As a mentor, Joanne is a wonderful example to the new Hospital Advocates, and clearly sets a high standard for others to follow. Back to top
2006 – Frankie Fowler
For over 35 years, Frankie Fowler has provided more than 26,500 hours of volunteer services to countless survivors and community members through her work for SafePlace, a partnership agency of The SAFE Alliance. She has worked in our shelter; been a voice of hope to callers on the hotline; engaged youth in presentations on healthy relationships and preventing domestic, sexual and dating violence; and she volunteers at community events to raise funds and awareness of these issues. Frankie also serves with her church, Texas Mass Choir, and the local chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. In all she does, Frankie teaches that love is about equality and respect. She has imparted this message to thousands, which they take with them and share with others. She helps break cycles of violence and teaches tools that work to build healthy and thriving individuals, families, and communities. Frankie is a role model and hero to all for her excellent, dedicated, and longtime service, mentorship, and commitment to our community.
She has been honored numerous times by other agencies, local and state government, media, and businesses as an exceptional volunteer and leader in the community. Frankie was honored for her amazing service to SafePlace at a reception held in the home of longtime domestic violence advocate and SafePlace Foundation Board trustee Luci Baines Johnson in May 2011. During this time, SafePlace staff and board honored her with a ceremony, placing a brick with her name on it at the entrance of the SafePlace Resource Center.
To recognize Frankie’s extraordinary legacy of service, in 2006, SafePlace created the Frankie Fowler Volunteer of the Year Award to recognize SafePlace volunteers who reflect Frankie’s outstanding service and motivation to help address and prevent abuse. Over the past decade, we have honored 10 volunteers by recognizing them with the “Frankie Award.” In 2016 we honored Frankie’s 35 years of service with a Longevity of Service Award. As she was presented with her 2016 award, Frankie explained that sometimes you have to take a step back from this hard work and take care of yourself—after all, that’s how she’s made it for this long. The work, however, is incredibly rewarding. “I don’t know if I have 35 more years,” Frankie said, “but what I do have, I pledge I will give.”