The Pregnancy Help Center would not be able to provide life-saving services without the help of a dedicated team of volunteers. This Volunteer Appreciation Week, we are shining the spotlight on these amazing people who work behind the scenes to provide abortion-vulnerable women the help they need to choose life. Get to know one of our volunteers, Allison Smart, and read all about her experience at the Center:
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been volunteering and how did you come to start volunteering with the Center?
I’ve been volunteering at the Center for about nine months. I heard about the opportunity from the Focus on the Family podcast, which I listen to every weekday, so I heard it mentioned a few times. At the same time, my husband and I were trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully for about two and a half years. I was at the point where I thought it would probably be good for me to put the focus on others that are struggling with pregnancy, but in a different way for me, so that I wouldn’t dwell on how difficult it was for us. Those two things just kind of came together and I decided that it would be a good opportunity. So, I went online to see if there were any pregnancy help centers nearby and found one here in Torrance.
What is your role and what does a shift look like for you?
I’m a client advocate here. Basically, I see as many as four to five clients each shift. I work Thursdays and the occasional Saturday. My job is to just be their advocate, as the name implies, and just make them feel comfortable. I let them know that we are there to support them, that we have different resources that can be helpful, and just basically do my best to make them feel safe.
What is it like being in the clinic and interacting with clients?
It’s really rewarding. The atmosphere here is very positive and nurturing, so interacting with clients in that environment is typically a pretty positive experience. I also enjoy serving where there’s a need, and there is definitely that need here, especially when there are multiple clients in one night.
Do you have any memorable stories to share from your time volunteering?
I do see the common theme of clients comparing their experiences at other places to this location and being pleasantly surprised by what they find here. And also lighting up when they see the shopping opportunity at the BrightCourse “store”. When they interact with the staff here, I’ve heard comments that we’re more friendly than other places, or that we are supportive or just nice.
What is one thing you would tell someone who is considering volunteering at the Center?
From a purely pragmatic standpoint, it’s a mutually beneficial situation. It’s very much needed, whether you’re a client advocate or receptionist or anything else. At the same time, volunteering is also really rewarding. Going into it, you expect to serve the needs of others, but there’s also satisfaction and fulfillment for you as a volunteer. So, I would definitely recommend it.
We are so grateful to Allison and all our volunteers who work tirelessly to provide life-affirming support to our clients and their babies. Thank you for all that you do! We’re always happy to welcome new volunteers. If Allison’s story has inspired you, find out about all the different opportunities we have and apply to be a volunteer today.