During 2012-2013, we committed to redesigning the 40 hour training – beginning with the name. The 40 hour “basic” training is now the “Core Advocacy Training“. The format is novel – 20 hours online and a 20 hours in-person. Much to my relief, it seems to have been a great success! I owe much of the success to the Associate Trainers who joined me: Anna Blauw (Healing House), Alberto Zavala (La Casa), and Perry Lawson (COPE, Inc.). Thanks to their knowledge, skills, and – most of all – flexibility, we met the goals of the training in a bold new format.
One of the discoveries of this training was that the domestic violence world is full of new ideas and these ideas are being put rapidly online. Many organizations – including our partners at the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health are regularly posting new webinars, containing the latest thinking on the future of serving women, children, and men who experience violence in their intimate and/or family relationships. By connecting new advocates to these national thinkers, the future of the movement will come from the bottom-up as well as the top-down.
Another focus of this training was on self-care. Through weekly self-reflection and a heartfelt sharing of the effects of secondary trauma on advocates, we hope to begin to decrease the turnover rate of advocates in New Mexico, which is 40% nationally. It is no small act for advocates to be the “trauma stewards” for our communities – joining with people who have experience the greatest of injustices and slimmest of opportunities and attempt to give them hope, resources, and next steps. These are the people who are willing to “go there”, and share the in the burden that is domestic violence – the root of so many of our social problems.
Our gratitude goes to this group of 25 new advocates for their commitment and heart!