Archive for June 2017

Meet Anna, a Latinx Court Advocacy Intern

Meet Anna, a Latinx Court Advocacy Intern
Anna Roberson says serving as a Court Advocacy intern at Compass Center gave her valuable courtroom experience and a first-hand look at the legal challenges victims of domestic violence.

Anna  says serving as a Court Advocacy intern at Compass Center gave her valuable courtroom experience and a first-hand look at the legal challenges victims of domestic violence face.

A friend who was previously a volunteer domestic violence court advocate encouraged me to look into Compass Center for Women and Families as she had found her volunteer years with Compass Center to be a meaningful way to balance her workweek. Since I have an interest in legal issues and will be attending law school in the fall, the court advocacy program was especially appealing to me.

Once a week, I accompany clients at the courthouse. They may be filing a protective order, acting as a victim or witness for a criminal proceeding, or dealing with custody issues. As a court advocate, I help the clients fill out some of the court paperwork if they need assistance, provide support while we wait — sometimes for hours — for the case to be resolved, provide resource referrals and safety planning, and schedule in-office services if necessary. I focus my time on our Spanish-speaking clients if there are any present.

Through volunteering I have learned so much, but I will always continue to be shocked at how pervasive domestic violence is. No demographic is free of domestic violence. I have also learned the ways in which the Latinx community specifically is impacted in unique ways and how language obstacles can make it more difficult for Spanish-speaking victims to receive justice and support.

I have grown so much in my ability to provide compassionate support to someone experiencing really intense trauma. I have learned to be comfortable talking with new people about “taboo” topics such as suicide, pregnancy, and abortion.  I have gained knowledge about the court system and improved my legal vocabulary in Spanish.  I have also gained a sharper sense of how I can use my future career as a lawyer to continue advocating for victims of domestic violence in other ways.

I strongly believe that the court experience I received and the amazing supervision of Kati Hajjar, Compass Center’s Director of Court Advocacy, during the past few years is what made the difference on my law school applications. Having so much direct client experience, learning how  domestic violence court works, assisting clients in pro se filings, getting to sit in and translate for interviews with the District Attorney, and having the opportunity to confirm my interest in the legal side of domestic violence have really prepared me to return to school and move forward in my career.

-Anna, Latinx Court Advocacy intern


In order to support the work of volunteers like Anna, please consider donating to Compass Center today.


Donate and You Could Win Durham Bulls Tickets

Donate and You Could Win Durham Bulls Tickets


Baseball 2

We have some exciting news! If you make a recurring donation to Compass Center June 5-7, your name will be entered into a raffle to win two tickets to see the Durham Bulls!

Prize Details: Two tickets for the 2017 Durham Bulls season. Select the game of your choice. Seats in Section 106, Row H, Seats 6-7. *

Donate today for your chance to win.

*No refunds or exchanges. Not redeemable for cash. No blackout dates but must select game two weeks in advance.

Nancy’s Story

Nancy’s Story

Nancy photo

I started volunteering in domestic violence prevention about 8 years ago. I left an abusive marriage in 2000 and for a long time I wasn’t comfortable reaching out. I had been with my abuser for 25 years and married to him for 20 of those years. After the marriage ended, my daughters and I needed time to rebuild our lives and heal from the trauma of the past decades.

Eventually, with therapy and time, I felt more energized. Domestic violence had been a negative focus in my life for so long.  Now I wanted to use that energy and focus it in a positive way. I sort of tip-toed into volunteering slowly and carefully. At first I helped out with paperwork and couldn’t do more than that without suffering from traumatic memories. Later, as I became more comfortable, I decided that I wanted to get involved in community education to expose the shame and silence of domestic violence and help others understand that it was not just happening to them and that it was real and destructive.

My first talk was at the local public library. There were about eight people in attendance, including a man and a woman who were a couple. It was uncomfortable to see their interactions, which were tense. And he was challenging some of the things I was saying. About a month later, I saw the woman in public. She said the relationship had been abusive and that she left him after learning about domestic violence and my experiences.  I realized that speaking out can make a difference.

I spent five years doing community education before I started volunteering with support groups. Generally, people do not see that domestic violence is the progressive deterioration of the person who is being abused. The support groups provide a space for survivors of domestic violence to have a voice.  It takes strength and courage to go through what they went through and it takes a lot of strength and courage to recover.

One thing I appreciate about Compass Center is the depth and breadth of the services offered. Having crisis services and being able to provide referrals for that immediate crisis that’s happening in your life is wonderful. But when that urgent need is over, it doesn’t mean the end of the process. You may still be in the relationship or you may have left the relationship. Either way there is a lot of unraveling and rebuilding that needs to be done. And that unraveling and rebuilding is always emotional, sometimes physical, but also practical.

The loss of autonomy and damage to self-esteem that victims of domestic violence experience are abstract and difficult for them to define to others and even to themselves.  The self-sufficiency resources provided by Compass Center help to make healing concrete with specific plans and access to constructive resources.   These tangible steps can help survivors reclaim the control over their lives that was jeopardized by their experiences and move forward in their recovery.

My story ends well.  I am happy and at peace most of the time.  But my recovery is still a process that needs attending.  The resources available through Compass Center and other organizations like it are invaluable to provide the empowerment, encouragement and support that I and other victims of domestic violence need to make the best decisions for us and our families.


Compass Center relies on donations to offer support groups, community outreach, and other services. Donate today.

Be Heard: How to Present Yourself and Your Ideas in any Professional Setting

Be Heard: How to Present Yourself and Your Ideas in any Professional Setting

Be Heard Event Flyer Final 2


Be Heard: How to Present Yourself & Your Ideas in Any Professional Setting

In this interactive workshop specifically tailored to professional women but relevant to men, too, marketing and branding expert Esther Campi shares her perspectives on how female power and leadership are viewed, being forced to choose between being liked and being respected, and how to present yourself and your ideas in a way that meets colleagues “where they are” – and increases the likelihood that you’ll be heard. Campi will also talk about the traps that women fall into in how we communicate at work, and how to use our body language, voice and words more effectively. For every woman who’s ever been called either “too nice” or “too aggressive” – or both – at work, this workshop is for you.

The Speaker: Esther Campi

During a career spanning 20 years, Esther Campi has been a trusted adviser to America’s top leaders – from Fortune 500 CEOs to U.S. senators. As a top chamber of commerce executive, U.S. Senate press secretary and award-winning journalist, Campi has spent her career at the intersection of business, politics and journalism. Her firm, Campi & Company, specializes in executive branding, corporate reputation management and public affairs. In Campi & Company, clients gain a partner who knows how to navigate high-stakes communication, whether in a boardroom, a hearing room or a newsroom. More info at:

Register today!

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