~This web series takes a deep dive into the Tahirih Justice Center’s challenging yet rewarding work, and the champions who show up day after day to get it done.~
Volunteers and pro bono partners are integral to ensuring Tahirih’s holistic, high-quality services are delivered to women and girls who need them most. From interpretation and translation between clients and direct services teams to transportation to medical appointments to daily living assistance and ESL tutoring, our volunteers allow us to support courageous immigrant women and girls as they rebuild their lives in the wake of violence.
Meet Alison Domonoske, the Development Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator in Tahirih’s Greater DC office. Growing up in Harrisonburg, Virginia and studying International Relations at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Alison began her career of assisting refugees through AmeriCorps’ Refugee Resettlement program. Here, she helped refugee women regain their lives and autonomy, and began to realize the impact gender-based violence had on the lives and futures of these women seeking support. The things she saw, learned, and felt during her service confirmed Alison’s passion for helping refugee and immigrant women and girls, and led her to Tahirih where she has been for over a year, first working in Communications Outreach and now in her current role on the Development Team.
As Tahirih Greater DC’s new Development Assistant, Alison worked closely with the Development Manager to plan and execute Tahirih’s 21st Annual Gala in in May 2018 in Washington, DC which welcomed 600 guests and raised $1 million. As anyone who runs large-scale events will tell you, it’s impossible to succeed without the support of volunteers, and Alison recruited, trained, and managed more than 40 to complete the evening. Her ability and excitement around engaging volunteers is critical to her other role for Greater DC – Volunteer Coordinator. Year-round she recruits, trains, and places volunteers into the various client-centered opportunities Tahirih provides eager supporters.
Alison finds the stories of Tahirih clients most inspiring, and motivate her to go above and beyond – finding more ways to raise funds and engage volunteers to better serve the women and girls who come to Tahirih for help. She believes in Tahirih’s impact to not only serve clients, but connect community members and professionals to the issues surrounding immigration and gender-based violence.
“I think every single client who walks in the door, if we’re able to serve them, or even just provide brief advice and counsel, we’re changing someone’s life. We’re giving them the ability to thrive in the U.S. and to build her own life. On the personal and individual level, that’s life-changing.”
Recent changes in immigration policy and the current political climate have created new challenges and barriers for many working at Tahirih, but Alison refuses to feel hopeless. She knows that the visibility Tahirih brings to these issues provides an opportunity to discuss injustice and inequality, most specifically concerning immigrant women and girls fleeing human rights abuses, with the general public.
“Right now especially, all forms immigration and relief are under attack, which affects our clients and millions of people in a huge way. Tahirih is on the frontlines and has the knowledge to fight back. Every day we’re serving our clients and trying to be in the community making sure that not only our clients, but also potential service seekers, know the facts and know what they can do.”