Volunteer Spotlight: Engagement as Violence Prevention

Happy National Volunteer Week and Global Volunteer Month!

This month, we’re highlighting and uplifting the work of our amazing volunteer, Yana! Yana currently contributes time as a Volunteer Program Assistant and was previously a Community Engagement Intern through the Community Scholars Program at UMass.

Name: Yana D

Volunteer position: Volunteer Program Assistant

How long you've been volunteering: 3.5 years

Fun fact: Yana plans to pursue a Master of Social Work degree.


Tell us about you!

I am a Russian-American woman who graduated from UMass Amherst with a passion in psychology, and a plan to pursue social work in the future. I love yoga, painting, reading, and spending time with people that bring me joy! 


Why do you volunteer with Safe Passage?

After learning about violence prevention at Wayland High School, I joined the Mentors in Violence Prevention program to learn more about healthy relationships and promote violence prevention efforts. We cultivated a safe and respectful environment for our peers to discuss relationships and bystander intervention.

Throughout my undergraduate studies, I complimented academic work with community engagement at Safe Passage by joining UMass Amherst's Community Scholars Program.

I have been lucky to be a part of such a wonderful organization that has taught me so much about domestic violence, in addition to violence prevention and intervention. 


How do you bring your skills, knowledge, experiences, and resources to the work you do here?

I use my research skills and knowledge of psychology to try to enhance the work we do. 


What is a meaningful experience you've had volunteering in the past year?

Being able to do a workshop at Leadership Academy over the summer was very special! I met many wonderful people and everyone was engaged in the work we were doing. 


Staff testimonials:

“Yana is an invaluable asset to the Safe Passage community, and our co-working sessions always leave me filled with energy for my day! I often joke that I wish we had 100 of her because her passion, dedication, and creativity are almost unmatched. She thinks about social issues in such a holistic way and with so much intention and care.

In the past few months, Yana has been working with me to create and facilitate new trainings and presentations for the volunteer program. Having her perspectives and feedback has expanded my views on the work and helped to improve the way the program is run so that we can best engage community members in the work of preventing interpersonal violence.”

–Alec, Community Engagement Coordinator


“Yana has enthusiastically engaged in her roles and the impact of her work, and contributions, at Safe Passage have spanned years. Through my work with Yana, I grew to understand her unique level of commitment to supporting survivors, prevention work, and supporting Safe Passage. Yana continually presented fresh ideas, creative solutions to barriers, and stepped into roles outside of her scope to support the work at the organization.”

–Amanda, Prevention and Outreach Manager


Thank you for being a part of Safe Passage, Yana!

To learn more about the volunteer program at Safe Passage and to get involved, check out the webpage here.