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Virtual Outreach in the time of Social Distancing

Categories: News, YWCA Blog

As social distancing guidelines change the way we work, teach our children, grocery shop, communicate with family, and spend our spare time, it also must change the way we educate ourselves. Worldwide, incidents of domestic violence have reportedly risen as people are ordered to stay in their homes, homes which may not be safe. Community outreach to educate the public on the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking may be more important now than ever, and the YWCA South Hampton Roads is up for the challenge.

The YWCA South Hampton Roads has offered community outreach services locally for years. Usually, we do this with presentations, workshops, tabling events, speeches, and community events. Our outreach services are tailored to the needs of the organizations requesting our services. The topics can range from sexual assault on college campuses or addressing intimate partner violence in the LGBTQ+ community. Content is geared towards different audiences, such as allied professionals who work with survivors needing training on trauma-informed care, or youth groups needing information on how kids/teens can identify healthy or unhealthy relationships and friendships. Common training topics include domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, healthy versus unhealthy relationships, and how to access services. We are continuing these outreach initiatives even as people turn to their computers for work and school programming.

Virtual outreach allows us to be somewhat creative with the way we reach the community, and luckily, platforms like Zoom makes it easier than ever! Any of the presentations we do out in the community, we can still present online for interested groups. Zoom, in particular, allows for screen sharing for PowerPoints and videos, as well as a live presenter. Audience members can submit questions to the presenter in real-time via the chatbox or by unmuting the participants’ microphones.

Our goal is to continue to be available to connect, educate, and connect in ways that our community needs. Whether through video conferences virtual resource fairs, audio conference calls, or one-on-one Q and As, we welcome ingenuity to continue our goal of community education.

While social distancing in the time of COVID-19 is daunting, technology has afforded us an avenue to continue to connect in meaningful ways. This connection applies not just to the way we socialize, but also the way we work and learn. It is especially important now, as many people are experiencing isolation in unsafe homes, that we all continue the work of spreading information about interpersonal violence, warning signs, and how to access services.  If you have a group that could benefit from outreach and education services, then please request a presenter through our website. If you or a loved one need help, please do not hesitate to call our 24-hr hotline at 757-251-0144.

To request YWCA-SHR’s outreach services, simply visit https://www.ywca-shr.org/what-we-do/outreach-and-education/ and submit a request form. Please submit the request at least two weeks prior to the event date, to allow for proper preparation and planning. YWCA staff will respond to the event request to confirm whether a presenter is available and to square away details of the training content and platform. For additional questions, please contact outreach@ywca-shr.org or 757-625-4248 ext. 128.