April 25, 2017

Crafting a Refuge

She may be retired, but Alice Volk isn’t finished working. In her 70s now, Alice has been volunteering at Gateway for almost 10 years, about as long as she’s lived in Gainesville.

“I started out working in the office, filing and answering phones,” Alice says. An occupational therapist suggested that Gateway start a crafts program, and now Alice helps lead the class that meets weekly for an hour and a half.

“They sit, they relax and they calm down,” Alice says, adding that it’s rewarding to watch the women interact with others and gain confidence through the class. “Many women don’t think they can do anything when they start, but when they finish they’re proud they can make something.”

Alice estimates that she averages 15-20 volunteer hours a week. Her husband, Bud, takes care of odd maintenance jobs around the shelter, and the two of them grocery shop each week. They stock the pantry with the purchased food and sort items provided by the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.

Alice and Bud are two of the many volunteers who help Gateway create an environment for safe, healthy, self-sufficient growth and violence prevention. In 2016 alone, 128 active volunteers contributed 4,399 hours.

Alice says her dedication is rooted in the difference she sees Gateway making in so many lives.

“They just do so much good here, in every way imaginable,” Alice says. “You don’t read about (domestic violence) in the paper all that much, but there’s so much of it that you don’t realize. There is so much need.”

Alice calls Gateway a “place of refuge” where survivors receive complete support, from learning life skills to help securing a new place to start again.

“It’s rewarding to see women who have survived and improved their lives, and realizing that you’re a part of helping them to do it.”

Interested in volunteering? Contact us today!