Marina Barron believes giving to a non-profit organization can be like dropping coins in a piggy bank.
As executive director of No One Alone, a program that protects victims of domestic violence, Barron has seen the rewards that are reaped when a community invests in a cause.
“Our donors invest in our organization, and we produce results by changing people’s lives for the better,” said Barron April 9. “A non-profit can truly be an asset in the community.”
No One Alone serves the communities of Dawson and Lumpkin counties.
In 2009, the program helped 1,357 victims with counseling, legal assistance and finances when needed.
About 35 percent of its clients came from Dawson County.
Helping a family or individual put the pieces back together usually means “providing stability.”
Barron said volunteers can assist victims by “working toward obtaining the stability families need to be successful or raise their children."
Volunteers at No One Alone are often “very compassionate people.
“We need volunteers who have an understanding of what victims go through, how vulnerable our population is,” Barron said. “Empathy is so important in our volunteers.”
Karen Parks of Dawson County has been volunteering for No One Alone for nearly eight years.
Parks said helping means “being the voice.
“They need someone to speak for them, because often they have to keep their anonymity…A lot of these women and children are pretty much alone. They may not have the resources they need. That’s where we come in,” Parks said.
Parks also assists with fundraisers like the upcoming Spring Gala at North Georgia College & State University.
The event, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 8, raises dollars so that the organization can continue to have its presence in Dawson and Lumpkin counties.
The organization has grown some in its nearly 25 years of service.
Barron said No One Alone began “like all non-profits, with a group of volunteers looking to make a difference.”
Volunteers established a hotline in 1986 to offer crisis intervention and resources for those affected.
The local shelter opened its doors in 1992. “It was a very small building, with six beds,” she said.
In 1994, the shelter moved to a larger facility, where it could house up to 12 people at a time. Only about 10 percent of those assisted by No One
Alone use the facility. Most live with a relative or friend.
“The bulk of our service is residential, which means we serve a high number of victims that don’t need to come to the shelter, but need services,” she said.
In order to continue offering services, Barron said, the community must continue to invest in non-profits like No One Alone.
“We want to continue to be an asset in this community,” she said. “It’s a positive investment in the future.”
For more information, visit noonealone.org. To reach the victim assistance hotline, call (706) 344-3853.