Meet Maci Nordone, Hospital Accompaniment Support Advocate and ADAPT Volunteer!
How long have you been volunteering? How long have you held this role in Fairfax County?
I have been volunteering for Fairfax County since spring 2018. I started with ADAPT, facilitating classes, and in fall 2018, I started doing hospital accompaniments as well.
Why volunteer? Why volunteer for this specific program?
I have always been an active member in my community. In college, at Rutgers University in New Jersey, I was the lead organizer of the annual Take Back the Night marches to stand against sexual and gender-based violence within our community. Additionally, I volunteered with my county’s domestic violence agency. When I graduated and moved to Fairfax County for a full-time job, I decided I wanted to be an active member of my new community. I specifically wanted to facilitate ADAPT classes, as I truly believe that to stop domestic violence, we have to meet offenders where they are, and provide them with the support they need to live a violence free lifestyle.
Talk about how you overcome the most challenging parts of volunteering.
The most challenging part of volunteering for me has been always wanting to do more. Especially on hospital accompaniments, where you only get to talk to someone for a brief snapshot of their journey when they’re in crisis after an assault. It is a challenge not to worry about them and how they’re doing in the future. The best way I navigate this is by reminding myself they are now connected to great resources that can give them the support they need and that I played a crucial role in getting them there. Plus, the DSVS professional staff are all incredibly supportive of us if we ever need to debrief after an intense experience.
What is the best part of volunteering? Share your most memorable experience.
My favorite part of volunteering is getting to watch people grow throughout the ADAPT classes and take part in their journey. I will always remember one client who came into class very closed off, against the curriculum and just wanting to “get by” so they could graduate. However, by the end of the class, they shared with us that they learned how to better connect with their emotions and no longer felt insecure sharing them with others. Experiences like that make all the challenging times worth it.
What has been your favorite training? What did you like about it? What did you learn?
My favorite training was held by another one of the ADAPT volunteers. It was all virtual due to COVID, and she talked about how we can best adapt our curriculum for virtual engagement. I walked away from the session having a better understanding of how to navigate virtual spaces--and more confidence in my abilities as a facilitator to still connect with our clients, even if it is all virtual.
What advice do you have for people who may be thinking about becoming a DSVS volunteer?
I would recommend volunteering with DSVS to anyone, but only if they are passionate about helping others and stopping domestic violence. It truly is a bigtime commitment and it can be very taxing emotionally. The reward is more than worth it when your heart is in the work you do!
What do you wish you could do more of as a volunteer?
This is largely due to COVID, but I miss getting to connect with staff, volunteers and our clients in person! I hope that as we adjust to the new normal, we can return to doing some events and classes in person.
This article posting is part of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services' Volunteer Voices monthly newsletter for current and potential volunteers. If you're not already a volunteer, learn how to get involved. Find out about upcoming trainings, volunteer trainings, happenings around the DSVS office and information about articles, books, media recommendations and more.
Learn more about the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS).