Board Member of the Year finalist Emily Shrock walked into our interview with all the polish and poise you might expect from a young, accomplished attorney. As soon as we began chatting, it was obvious that she carried an equal passion for her work as a long-time volunteer and current board member for Coburn Place Safe Haven.
“Emily has demonstrated a commitment to Coburn Place that has spanned a decade and has thousands of dollars, countless events, and many changed lives to show for it. ” ~ sister and nominator, Elise Shrock.
Here’s a little more from our conversation about Emily’s commitment to survivors of interpersonal abuse.
Q: For those who don’t know about Coburn Place and its mission, how would you describe it?
A: Coburn Place provides transitional housing for victims of intimate partner violence. We help individuals as well as families. Coburn Place is a unique organization in that we don’t house survivors in shelters, we offer transitional housing solutions. There are voluntary services available – childcare, job training and legal services – and clients are empowered to choose the services that are right for them.
Q: Our generation has a lot of options about what causes to support and how to spend their volunteer. How do you inspire others in your network to care about this mission that is obviously so important to you?
A: I like what Coburn did to reach out to younger donors and give them an easy solution to support our work, financially. We now have a monthly “subscription” service – similar to Netflix or Hulu account. Many of us are used to having a small expense taken out of our checking account each month, and probably don’t even think twice about it. We do this for new donors – many of whom are millennials – as an option to donate. That has certainly increased our dollars. Of course we still need to tell our story, which is why I think our Coburn tours helps bring the work to life for someone interested in who we are, what we do, and how we help.
Q: How can someone interested in volunteering with Coburn Place get involved?
A: One volunteer opportunity that I really enjoy is called apartment setups. Before we move a family into a home, Coburn Place fully furnishes the space. When the family moves out of the home, they can keep the furniture that’s inside and take it with them. The volunteers then get to redesign and redecorate the home. It’s a lot of fun; especially getting to decorate the kids’ rooms.
Q: What can we expect from Coburn Place within the next couple of years?
A: We have created a workshop for those who want to get their driver’s license or get their license reinstated. This is obviously critical for clients who are trying to hold down stable employment. That’s a small but important example. Otherwise, we hope to have the space and resources to serve more clients. We usually have about 150 individuals on the waiting list for our transitional housing – the need is great.
Q: What is your hope for our city?
A: I just hope that everyone opens their eyes and realizes that homelessness can take many shapes. In the case of our clients, it is not always someone’s choice to be homeless or to lose their house. I’d like more people in our community to see the importance of giving selflessly of their time and come together on behalf of those struggling. It really does take a village.