It’s time to meet another one of the amazing volunteer Radvocates who hold space and offer unconditional support on our national toll-free Talkline. This month we introduce Natasha, who has been involved with Backline from our earliest days in Portland, OR!
How/when/why did you first get involved with Backline?
I first got involved with Backline in 2004. I had just moved to Portland from California and was looking for some way to incorporate adoption dialogue and awareness in the pro-choice movement, so I would have some sort of direction before I started college.
I serendipitously found a Craigslist ad calling for volunteers. Through answering the ad, I talked and met with Grayson Dempsey, the founder of Backline. She floored me with her work experience, passion for reproductive justice, and motivation to start a nonprofit. I went through the 40 hours of training with the first group of Talkline volunteers. At the time, I helped with outreach and researching places which could use Backline as a resource. Answering phones felt too intense for me at the time.
After about a year, I took a break from Backline to focus on college. Toward the last year of earning my Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies, I was in search of a direction I wanted to make use of my degree. Every time I thought about it, Backline would come up in my mind. I applied to be a Talkline advocate in the Fall of 2011 and have been thrilled to be a part of the Backline community ever since.
What has surprised you most in your work on the Talkline?
I am surprised by the openness to vulnerability of the Backline callers.
What’s your favorite thing about being on the Talkline?
Besides the strong feeling of community I feel with the other Backline volunteers, I love being part of the movement to create nonjudgmental space for people making difficult pregnancy decisions.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your Backline colleagues.
I made a documentary about Grayson Dempsey in 2007.
What is your favorite thing to do for fun?
Roller skating and Instagramming cats in the neighborhood.
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?
Food Not Bombs