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"We need to wake people up to the attitudes and actions that continue to keep victims at risk and our cities, towns and cultural communities unsafe." ~ Paulo Pinto, MPA, Executive Director, MAPS - Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers

Intern: Katherine Valera

Summer 2012: Repairing Souls

It takes an immense courage for a soul to break its silence and speak up. Having had multiple encounters with domestic violence, I knew I wanted to help end it. At college I had joined a sorority whose purpose is to combat domestic violence in our local campus and our community at large by various means. Being hired to be a Summer 2012 Communications Intern at Jane Doe came with much excitement. I knew that I would be of great assistance to a larger organization that supported the same cause I had passion for.   

I believe I was brought to Jane Doe for a purpose.  Although I only worked two days a week, these hours widened my perspective on the hard work that is put into our initiatives. I also have been introduced to a stronger meaning behind the small gestures - be it a simple phone call, or a humble cover note.

I will never forget the story my supervisor told me about a survivor who had “traded in her bat for a cell phone.” For the past weeks I have been working on a dormant project that I have had the pleasure of bringing back to Jane Doe. In the past years we had initiated a Cell Phone Drive to ensure that refurbished cell phones are available for victims in need and recycled phones can be turned into cash to support the work. I wrote letters to major companies hoping they would agree to host a cell phone drive. Several places are taking up the initiative.  What others might see as a simple mail merge (yet another skill I acquired this summer!), I experienced profound meaning in the work I was doing:  my letters were the difference between another soul lost to domestic violence and one more survivor.

One of the projects that I had the most fun working on was the PSA transcripts with my fellow intern Tanaha. We worked very hard to get television and radio stations to agree to run our PSA with Diane Patrick.  We also drafted strong messages that would appeal to culturally specific audiences. The Public Service Announcement is a powerful message that addresses the importance of speaking up about domestic violence and how it can save a life. I can only hope that when I leave here my efforts will have made a difference.

Here at Jane Doe I had the honor of working with a wonderful and understanding staff that offered nothing but support and smiles. I entered into such a positive atmosphere where a simple “Hello dear” from Sherwin was all I needed to leave the stresses of the world outside.

I wish I could have stayed longer. I walked into Jane Doe in early June not knowing what to expect, but I gave it my best. They say you don’t have to be related to be family and I feel the staff here has given me a strong sense of family and support.


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