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Ashleigh Windel

Service Learning Journal #1 9/26/14 - 9:00a to 1:00p

Contact: Whitney Buffa, WISE Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 231 796 6600

For my first experience at WISE I had to go through an orientation. The orientation consisted of
three power point presentations, a tour of the WISE shelter and the administrative office. The power
points were quite long and detailed. They started off by providing information about the organization
and giving a brief history. I learned that WISE is a nonprofit organization that provides services to victims
of domestic and sexual violence. WISE receives a lot of support from the community through donations
of money, clothing and food. The food and clothing go to the shelter where victims can be safely housed
temporarily. Along with the shelter they have a 24 hour emergency crisis hotline, individual and group
counseling and legal support. The power points also went into depth on different types of abuse that
exist, such as; physical, sexual, emotional/verbal, financial, digital and stalking.
Before looking for a place to complete my service learning project I had never heard of WISE, I
happened to stumble upon it when I walked by their administrative office in downtown Big Rapids. Since
this first day was primarily orientation to WISE I did not perform any direct services for the community.
However, I would have to say that by watching the power point presentations and meeting the staff I
became much more aware of the types of abuse and how they impact individuals, as well as, families.
Spreading awareness of domestic violence is always a good thing, so, in an indirect way my services for
the community that day could have just been through gaining more insight into abuse.
This day helped meet my personal goals by providing me with information on a topic that I did
not know a whole lot about. I have never had any experience with domestic violence or victims of
domestic violence so my knowledge was very limited. In my career as a nurse I may encounter victims of
abuse which makes this knowledge and experience pretty valuable. Abuse victims are their own
vulnerable population and by having some background knowledge I may be able to understand their
situation and even provide them with better care.

Ashleigh Windel
Service Learning Journal #2 10/10/14 10:00a to 4:00p
Contact: Whitney Buffa, WISE Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 231 796 6600

October was domestic violence awareness month and WISE spreads awareness by passing out
newsletters, goody bags, flyers and decking everything out in purple. I earned volunteer hours by
assisting the volunteer coordinator in making goody bags for to hand out to women in need. The purple
bags were filled with small but necessary items, such as; shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion and
mouthwash. We attached one of the WISE cards with contact information to each bag. We made
hundreds of these goody bags for the volunteers to pass out. WISE was participating in several domestic
violence awareness events across three different local counties. During these events, the goody bags
would be passed out. I did not attend this event because it interfered with my class and work schedules
but I was very happy that I at least got to assist in the making of the bags. At the events, there were a
couple different speakers that spoke about the impact of domestic violence indirectly on others.
Domestic violence not only affects the immediate victims but spills into schools, workplaces and other
homes. If you look on the WISE website there is a paragraph describing domestic violence and
information on how to get help.
This particular day helped me reach a goal of helping victims of abuse. I like to think that the
goody bags I made with the attached WISE contact information could have been given to a woman that
is a victim of abuse. Maybe the victim used the contact information on the card to get out of a domestic
violence situation.

Ashleigh Windel
Service Learning Journal #3 10/7/14 9:00a to 1:00p
Contact: Whitney Buffa, WISE Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 231 796 6600

The WISE shelter provides housing and safety to victims of abuse. This shelter only provides
housing to women and children. However, there are shelters for men through a different organization.
In October, the shelter was home to three different women and five children. Each woman is given a
bedroom to share with her child/children. There is a communal living space which includes; childs
playroom, three full baths, kitchen, dining room and living room. There are house rules posted in the
dining room, along with, assigned chores to each family. The kitchen is fully stocked with food bought
through received donations. Essentially, the staff of WISE try to make the shelter seem as friendly, safe
and comfortable as possible to those staying there. Attached to the back of the shelter is an office
where some of the WISE staff work. This is where medications are kept locked up. WISE has a strict
policy on drugs and weapons. Room checks are performed daily by the staff. They will wear gloves and
check each family bedroom for items that are not permitted in the shelter. If a woman has a drug
problem she is unable to stay at the shelter for her safety, as well as, the other families. Some other
interesting rules included; not contacting the abuser while in the shelter and not disclosing the location
of the shelter. Some of these women still work jobs while staying in the shelter and their children still go
to school.
In October I earned volunteer hours by cleaning the shelter. Every so often the shelter needs a
good deep cleaning and a couple of the volunteers will go through and disinfect. There were two of us
that worked together and cleaned the shelter that day. We went through each room and disinfected,
dusted, vacuumed, etc. As the shelter inhabitants came and went that day, they thanked us for cleaning
and making the shelter a better place to live.
My community service that day was directly impacting the victims of abuse. A lot of the
volunteer work I did was indirect so it was nice to actually meet some of the people and get to know
them briefly. Sometimes you can be so far removed that you forget that domestic violence victims are

still people too. They still have likes and dislikes. I met my goal of communicating effectively with

Ashleigh Windel
Service Learning Journal #4 1/9/15 10:00a to 3:00p
Contact: Whitney Buffa, WISE Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 231 796 6600

February is the month for dating violence and teen dating violence awareness. For my volunteer
work on this day I helped to create a WISE newsletter for the next month (February). Another nursing
student and I worked together on this project. The volunteer coordinator gave us a sample spreadsheet
of ideas to include in the newsletter but left us a lot of free range. The month of February is an effort to
raise awareness about abuse in teenagers through 20 year olds. According to, one in
three teens in the United States will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they
are in a relationship with before they become adults. During the week of Valentines Day, people are
asked to wear the color orange to support this event. Many young people are unaware of dating
violence. They do not know what a healthy relationship consists of and can get stuck in a bad situation.
February is dedicated to educating young people and adults on dating violence, healthy relationships
and how to prevent abuse. By targeting the younger population it may help to break the cycle of
domestic violence and sexual assault.
Also included in the newsletter were the signs of an abuser. Some of the signs include; jealously
that starts right at the beginning of the relationship. The abuser will accuse the victim of cheating and
will check up on them. Another sign is controlling behavior; the abuser will eventually prevent the victim
from coming and going freely. Quick involvement, the abuser will want to pressure the victim into a
serious relationship. Other signs include; unrealistic expectations, isolation, blaming others,
hypersensitivity, cruelty, force, verbal abuse and threats of violence.
For this volunteer experience I met the goal of spreading awareness about an important topic.
The newsletter we created was printed and handed out in the community. I like to think that some
victims of abuse were able to read it and hopefully identify with it and begin to seek help.

Ashleigh Windel
Service Learning Journal #5 1/16/15 10:00a to 3:00p
Contact: Whitney Buffa, WISE Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 231 796 6600

A lot of the work that is done by WISE is not possible without the help of volunteers. They have
a small amount of staff members and they could not possibly help as many people as they do without
the kind-hearted volunteers that assist them. For this day of volunteer work the volunteer coordinator
had me working the administration office with her. There are a lot of people interested in volunteering
at WISE, which surprised me because I did not know that it was so well known in the community. Due to
the large number of people applying to volunteer, the coordinator needed assistance in organizing and
putting together volunteer profiles. In order to be a volunteer, you must provide a copy of your license,
have two types of background checks done and complete an orientation. Each volunteer profile comes
with a checklist that must be followed through in order for that person to start doing actual volunteer
work with WISE. Sometimes the background checks can take some time to get back. The coordinator
had me go through each of the files and determine who needed what done in their checklist.

This day was not as productive as other days of volunteering. I did not directly contribute to the
community but it was more indirect. I indirectly helped out the community by hopefully getting more
people a step closer to volunteer orientation where they could then start doing events with the WISE
staff. I would have to say that this day did not really meet any of my goals laid out in my Service Learning
Proposal but all the same I was happy to help out.

Ashleigh Windel
Service Learning Journal #6 2/13/15 10:00a to 4:00p
Contact: Whitney Buffa, WISE Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 231 796 6600

This was the last day that I volunteered for WISE and it was probably the most fun.
Unlike other typical volunteer days, we were not in the office or the shelter. WISE had a big
event planned for later on that night called One Billion Rising and we were a part of the set-up
crew. This event took place at The Gate. The WISE website has details about the event. It is
basically their version of a revolution to stand up against domestic violence and sexual assault.
CJ, another nursing student, was also volunteering that day. We spent much of our time blowing
up balloons and arranging centerpieces for the tables. WISE had rented out the restaurant space
of The Gate and was having a buffet style dinner catered. They were also having speakers on the
stage talk about rising against domestic violence and sexual assault.
To be a part of the event you paid $13 for the meal and you were given a sign to write
on. The sign stated, I am rising because and you had to fill out the next part of the sentence.
Each of the signs was hung up on the wall with all of the others to show how many people were
rising. Unfortunately I did not attend the actual event, I had to work that night but just being a
part of the set-up was fun. WISE was also selling candles (all proceeds went back into helping
victims of abuse). These candles were going to be lit together later on in the night as a symbol of
rising. CJ and I helped set-up tables, cover them in tablecloths, arrange centerpieces, arrange
candles and hang up signs. Blowing up the balloons was probably the longest part, there were
over 200 of them!
This experience helped me meet my goal of spreading awareness of domestic violence
and sexual assault. I was not a part of the actual event but just by helping set-up I felt that I was
contributing towards the community. I am happy that I was involved in some way in the One
Billion Rising event because it is such an important issue. My experience with WISE was very
informative and eye-opening. Like much of the community I was unaware of the prevalence of

domestic violence and sexual assault going on in the community. It is important to spread
awareness to someday put a stop to domestic violence and sexual assault.