Hope just celebrated her first anniversary as an office volunteer at All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center, where she helps cover the front desk, coordinates visits with clients, and keeps the office running smoothly. In this first Advocate Spotlight of 2017, we sit down with Hope to learn a bit more about her motivation for volunteering with Backline, as well as her other interests and hobbies – when she’s not so generously lending us her time! Read on to learn a little more about Hope!
How/when/why did you first get involved with Backline/All-Options and how long have you been volunteering?
I think I first heard of All Options PRC in a FB swap group; another member had mentioned it as a possible place to donate used baby and children’s items. I went to the website and read about the work and was really impressed. I emailed about possible volunteer opportunities, but the schedule for training never matched my availability and I kind of forgot about it. Later, I went to speak to an IU class about abortion related topics and found that I was following All-Options’ Program Manager, Rachel. I talked to her about the possibility of volunteering again and this time was able to follow through. I think that was about a year ago. I have limited time for volunteering because I also work a full-time job during the day, but I try to get there whenever I can!
What’s your favorite thing about volunteering at All-Options?
Even though I am actually pretty shy, I enjoy meeting both the clients and the other people who volunteer and work at the Center. I love being able to give caregivers the material support they need – I’ve been a single parent myself and have struggled to meet my children’s needs. There are so many “no” answers, it is nice to be one who can say “yes!” I hope we continue to receive support from donors and community members so that we can continue saying, “YES!”
Why is an all-options approach to reproductive health and support so important?
From my own personal experiences, I know that non-judgmental, all-options support is truly the best way to approach reproductive health and pregnancy decisions. Once, I was sitting in a very liberal church with a friend that financially supported Planned Parenthood. My friend loved some things about this church, but was \fairly conservative and reserved about support for PP. While discussing this together, he said, “I wish there were some place that would support people no matter what they decide to do with their pregnancy!” I had just started volunteering with All-Options and had learned of the breadth of support that was being offered. I was so happy to be able to tell him, “That place does, indeed, exist!”
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your Backline colleagues.
Hmmm…I don’t know if I have any surprises left! Maybe that I am so old that my early protest days were with the anti-apartheid movement in the early 1980s. When people try to tell me that protesting is ridiculous, self-serving for attention, or doesn’t work, I know that apartheid is no longer the government policy in South Africa. After a lot of work and the right kind of public, political, and financial pressure, it was ended. Although I mostly feel ”retired” from demonstrative activism these days, I do believe that protest works.
What is your favorite thing to do for fun?
I’ve always enjoyed a lot of reading, but right now I have kind of paused on my reading and started watching movies and TV shows on Netflix instead. I feel kind of guilty to admit it, but the reason is because I can knit while I watch! I love loom knitting hats and have probably knitted hundreds in the past decade and donated them all over town. I’ve always had trouble fully relaxing, but knitting while watching has probably saved my mental health by allowing me to feel “productive,” yet relaxed. Loom knitting, specifically, doesn’t require following complicated patterns and counting, just around and around until you’re done! I’ve gone through phases in the past years where my knitting waxes and wanes, but it is full force right now, which is probably a reflection of some anxiety issues.
If Backline’s mission were achieved and all people had the support and resources they needed for pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption experiences, where would you volunteer your time?
I do other volunteer work already, mostly within food justice. I work fairly regularly at Interfaith Winter Shelter and cook soup for our guests. I also work with my office as a collection point to gather supplies for the Community Kitchen’s “Backpack Buddies” program. As racial tension and racial hate crimes have increased terribly over the past couple of years, I have become more interested in local education efforts and may end up pulling out my activist shoes again.