We Can't Predict What We Don't Know

We Can't Predict What We Don't Know

I’ll never forget sitting at the advocate’s desk profusely shaking, too nervous to even understand what was going on around me in the office. It was my first day as a volunteer at Newhouse Shelter, the oldest Kansas City domestic violence shelter. During my first shift on the hotline, the phone started ringing within the first 15 minutes. Of course I was thinking what on earth did I get myself into. But then, as if it had just occurred to me in the moment, I realized that on the other end of that line sat a woman desperately seeking shelter…

A month prior I had found myself shuffling through pamphlets and flyers of local nonprofits that were involved with Rockhurst University, where at the time I was attending undergrad. It just so happened that I came across a pamphlet for Newhouse Shelter, and after perusing the information, I learned about the domestic violence shelter/advocacy work they were doing. I was a little confused. What was domestic violence? Was that even a thing? I could not even begin to fathom what domestic violence was, how many people it affected, who it affected, and more.

I found myself questioning why this was happening. How would someone do this to another person? What was the motive? And as each volunteer shift progressed, I began to piece together my passion. Three years later, I went from knowing nothing about domestic violence to being a forever advocate for education on domestic violence, a champion for survivors, and finding my calling to help eliminate this thorn in our communities.

As I sat there during my first shift, I calmly and quickly took a deep breath. I pulled myself together, picked up the phone, and with a little nerve in my voice, uttered the words, “How may I help you?”

Christopher Stibbs, Board of Directors