Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copies of Domestic Violence Fact Sheet for your state (see Preparation)
- List of options for projects from advance research (see Preparation)
Preparation for Activity
- Download and print a Domestic Violence Fact Sheet for your state. Make a copy for each participant.
- Conduct research to identify possible community service projects that can assist domestic violence shelters or antiviolence educational programs near you. For example, you might contact local agencies to ask whether they need services such as meal service or child care, items such as emergency toiletry kits or children's toys, or assistance with fund-raising. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE) can be a resource, as can the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website.
- Select at least two service project options (if possible) that participants can consider together.
Description of Activity
Explain that participants will have an opportunity to put Principled Commitment values into action by committing to serve others. Introduce the topic of domestic violence and ask how it is related to the workshop's values. Ask participants to think about what it would mean to them to help others escape violent situations and find trust and safety in relationships.
Describe to the group what you have learned about local programs' needs. Invite participants to brainstorm ideas for other ways to serve. As a group, select a project. On a newsprint sheet, create a task list with a timeline. Identify a point person (from the class) for each task.
Depending on your area, there may not be more than one option for a community service project. The group could also consider conducting an informational campaign within the congregation, such as placing a domestic violence educational display in all of the restrooms.
Please note that shelters often keep their locations secret to provide the safest environment for their clients. Let participants know this in case they are wishing to tour the facility. In some cases, there may be special programs (such as education or free play for children) in a separate location where outside participants are allowed.
If you decide on a direct care project, there may be a need for background checks, and some agencies may allow only women volunteers in their facility. Be sure to keep this in mind as you plan your project so that all workshop participants can be involved.
Plan to implement the project by the end of the Principled Commitment program or shortly after your final workshop.
Including All Participants
It is valuable to remember that you may have participants in your workshop who have had direct experience with domestic violence in their current or past relationships. Do not assume it's something that happens only to "others."
Research the site of the service project to determine whether it will be accessible and inclusive for participants of all physical abilities.