My voice is one that you may hear when you call the Haven Hills 24/7 Crisis Line. I joined up with Haven Hills back in 1981 when I was a grad student in Educational Psychology at Cal State Northridge. I volunteered to complete my field placement hours working with children at the Crisis Shelter and this turned out to be a life-changing experience for me.

I counseled the kids, and learned so much by listening to them. My CSUN education and expertise have been enhanced, deepened, and improved by decades of real-world experience with families impacted by domestic violence. The opportunity to offer security to children suffering from the trauma of domestic violence touched my heart so deeply when I was a student, I have stayed with the organization for over thirty years.

I have seen Haven Hills grow into a resource that makes a real difference. I continue to come back all these years because I believe in what Haven Hills stands for; I believe in their philosophy of non-violence and healthy relationships. I value everything I’ve learned, especially watching the staff care for the women and children, and appreciate their trust in me all these years.

When I answer calls on the Crisis Line, I find it rewarding to know that I empower people to make their own choices. Many times I’ve heard a victim tell me “I’ve never told anyone this before” or “I feel like I know what to do now – thank you!” Empowering women and men with the resources and knowledge to make life-changing and life-saving decisions for themselves is incredibly gratifying, and I’m proud to know I’m part of team that saves and rebuilds lives in my community every single day. Pick up the phone any hour, day or night, if you, or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence. We’re here with open minds and open hearts. And we have genuine, workable solutions and ways forward for you and for your children.

Every Haven Hills volunteer offers strength, insight, understanding, hope, practical help, paths to resources, and much more to the victims of domestic violence who reach out to Haven Hills. We’re in awe of Julie Vicuna’s years of service to Haven Hills, and it gives us great joy to share a little bit of her very special voice with you in this blog post. Thank you, Julie! You mean the world to us.