Our third day in Chicago began our actual service opportunities for domestic violence. Waking up bright and early, we started off our day by making a visit to the Chicago Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. As we walked through the doors, we were greeted by Presiding Judge Sebastian Patti. The DVLC has provided free assistance to low-income individuals in Cook County and is dedicated to using the legal system to combat domestic violence. The organization is comprised of staff members and volunteers, providing a variety of legal services for those affected by domestic violence. Judge Patti gave us a personal introduction to the clinic and what they do and then stepped out while the volunteer coordinator for the DVLC let us participate in a volunteer training session with people who were training to be legal advocates.
During this training session, we got a more thorough look at what domestic violence is, what are factors that contribute to it, and what some common misconceptions are of domestic violence factors and those who are victims of domestic violence. The training also included an in-depth look at Orders of Protection, Illinois’s version of Emergency Protective Orders. These are essentially court ordered no contact agreements, stating that the victim cannot be contacted by the abuser or else the abuser can be arrested. After the training, our group had the opportunity to observe Judge Patti hear actual Order of Protection cases and judge on them. We were given the opportunity to realize that domestic violence can look and feel like many different things, including married couples, non-married couples, parents and children, neighbors, and other types of domestic violence situations. We also got to observe a diverse array of cases, including different sexualities, ethnicities, ages, and physical disabilities that all affected the outcome of the case.
After this educational morning, our trip participants headed to an organization called Sarah’s Inn. Sarah’s Inn is a community-based non-profit whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence and to break the cycle of violence for future generations. Their focus is on ending relationship violence through crisis intervention, community education, prevention programs for children and adults, and programs for convicted abusers. We had the opportunity to do over 40 hours of individual work for this organization in just one afternoon—painting porches, sanitizing toys, creating care packages for a Women’s Day celebration, and taking inventory of food pantries. Our participants had a wonderful time volunteering, taking pride in their work while also enjoying their time with other participants.
Although the day was long, it was rewarding. The members expressed their gratitude in reflection at the end of the day, citing just how valuable teamwork is when an organization needs to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. We were in awe of the progress we made, and are ready for Day 4 of our week in Chicago.
The Service Coordinators develop active citizens on our campus and in our community through immersive service-based trips and days of service.
Co-Director: Loghan Currin
Co-Director: Sydney Tharp
The Engage Lead Serve Board's mission is to enhance the education of students by providing structured experiential and developmental opportunities that encourage community engagement, model good leadership, and allow active service.
Engage Lead Serve Board
Student Activities Center, W310
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Telephone: (502) 852-4333