Archive for the Why I Give Category

“Being an Ally for People Who Need Someone to Listen” – Why I Give

“Being “Being an Ally for People Who Need Someone to Listen” an Ally for People Who Need Someone to Listen”

Why I Give

Emily Hurtt

Family Law Attorney and Volunteer

Compass Center offers a variety of services to help people move forward with their lives. One such service is hosting free Family Law Information sessions in which attorneys donate their time to answer people’s general questions about family law in North Carolina. Often these information sessions help participants determine whether or not to pursue legal action in matters pertaining to legal separation, divorce, child support, and more.

Emily Hurtt, a family law attorney at Bagwell, Holt, and Smith P.A., has been volunteering at Family Law Information sessions for past nine months.

“I started volunteering at Compass Center because of the opportunity to help women and children in crisis situations.  Since becoming involved with Compass Center, I have learned so much about the clients here, including survivors of domestic violence. I’ve learned that domestic abuse can take many forms. I’ve also realized that reaching out for help in not a weakness— it’s a strength.

As a volunteer I have found that people are so gracious and just need an ear to listen. Knowing that I can be an ally for people who need someone to listen is part of the reason I enjoy volunteering at Compass Center.”

Letting People Know Help Is Out There- Why I Give

“Letting People Know Help Is Out There”

Why I Give

Lourdes and the team at Gracie Chapel Hill Jiu-Jitsu

I believe Compass Center is important because it helps people find a way to change their lives. Women and families are often in situations where change on their own without assistance is difficult or even impossible. I wanted to raise money for Compass Center and, more importantly, raise awareness in the community that Compass Center can help people get out of an abusive relationship.

I think the work they do on the crisis hotline is so important. Sometimes people in abusive situations feel uncomfortable telling friends and family what is going on, so the ability to speak to someone anonymously and for them to have that compassion and listen to their story is so meaningful. It gives people strength because they finally have someone saying “you’re not crazy” when someone in their life might be telling them that “you are crazy,” or that “no one’s going to believe you.”


One of the things that Compass Center does is supply food and basic needs to survivors of domestic violence and their children who have to leave an abusive situation with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I wanted to do something to help.  I thought, every dollar that can be raised for Compass Center could be for diapers, someone’s food, or a safety phone for someone who needs to call the police or seek shelter.  So, I approached my friends at Chapel Hill Gracie Jiu-Jitsu about hosting a fundraiser.  They said “yes” right away.  We decided to host a roll-a-thon or “sparring” event and raised money on a crowd funding website. It was a huge success!  We had so much support from the jiu-jitsu community across the East Coast.  It was a real community effort.  Together we raised more than $4,000 for Compass Center!


I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and were so glad I suggested this event because they know someone who has been in a bad situation. Everyone had a story. My primary focus for the donation was to create awareness. I wanted people to know that if they needed help, there was somebody out there. I’m really excited that we raised a lot of money, but even if we reached just one person that found Compass Center and found their voice to get out of their situation, that is the win.


A Listening Ear for Someone in Crisis

“A Listening Ear for Someone in Crisis”

Why I Volunteer

Reade’s story

“I started volunteering at Compass Center out of a desire to do more for those impacted by domestic violence. It means a lot to me to be able to provide a safe space and a listening ear for someone in crisis. Having someone available to validate your feelings can be just what is needed. I enjoy the engagement and overcoming the discomfort and uneasiness in order to fully meet someone who needs support.”

—Reade, Hotline Advocate, almost 2.5 years

“A Model That Makes a Lasting Impact”

“A Model that Makes a Lasting Impact”

Why I Give

Board Chair Gillian Hare

I have always been the person that has wanted to give back to the community. My motto is ‘give back and step up.’ When I discovered Compass Center for Women and Families, I knew it would be the right fit.

What really lured me in to Compass Center was their empowerment model. I really liked that Compass Center was focused on long-term solutions by giving people the tools and services they need to help themselves. Through their three pillars of crisis care, self-sufficiency, and education, I believe we can empower individuals and stop the generational impact of domestic violence.

In my own life, my family has tackled the consequences of unhealthy relationships and I see how it affects a family for generations. The long-term effects of domestic violence make this issue so important to address when the person is in crisis rather than waiting for it to get worse. For example, if you see that a parent isn’t empowered, then that child might not be empowered, which can lead to mental health issues and lack of safety. On the other hand, a person who is empowered is able to restore their own dignity and face the challenges that will come in the future. They can empower their children and the people they surround themselves with.

I started by helping the development side of Compass Center by running fundraising events. I became more involved, ultimately joining the board and serving as the Committee chair for the Empowering Journeys Fundraiser. Now, I will be the chair of the board which will be a new adventure for me. I love the people I work with and volunteering with Compass Center has tremendously impacted my life. When you find the right fit as an organization, you are learning and growing just as much as the organization is. I think that’s the joy, that’s when it’s going to last.

Compass Center is more than just a place I donate to, I’m a part of a team of people committed to making a positive change.


“Feeling Connected to the Community”

“Feeling Connected to the Community”

Why I Give

Ilouise Bradford, Compass Center Board Member

I first learned about Compass Center’s mission after attending a Tea with Lee event in December 2012. Because I had friends and family who had experienced and, luckily, survived domestic violence at the hands of intimate partners, I was initially inspired to donate to Compass Center because its staff provided much-needed domestic violence crisis services in my community.

Through my conversations with Cordelia Heaney, who became executive director in 2015, I learned much more about the depth and breadth of Compass Center’s services. For one, the staff understand that domestic abuse is not only physical but also emotional, verbal, and financial. That recognition is powerful, and Compass Center has developed a systematic approach that provides both crisis support and more practical financial and career services to whomever seeks them out.

As a board member, I have been privileged to be part of an amazing team that wants to empower clients to reroute their lives toward a better future. Although many national and international organizations are doing great work, to me, investing in Compass Center has meant getting to see its vital impact at the local level. I know its mission; I know the people working hard to make its vision a reality; and I trust their judgement regarding how to make the biggest difference in our community.

At a recent fundraiser at Local 506, a young man approached one of our board members to say that he wished that he and his mother had had access to services like those offered at Compass Center when he was growing up. If Compass Center had been around then, he thought that it would have given him and his mother hope and the tools needed to forge a new path. Stories like his strengthen my commitment to supporting Compass Center’s work in whatever way I can.


Saying Farewell to our JSC Intern

Compass Center is saying goodbye to our Information and Referrals intern, Emmanuel Gemora!

Emmanuel has been with Compass Center since last summer through the Johnson Service Corps, an organization in which young adults devote one year to community service in Chapel Hill and Durham. He chose Compass Center because he wanted to work directly with families.

“I am trained in education and I wanted to do something that I felt would help me in my future with a job as an educator,” he said.

Emmanuel has helped Compass Center by accommodating walk-in clients, scheduling appointments, speaking with clients on the phone, ordering resources, organizing the office, and more. He said that in addition to learning a lot about crisis and non-profit work, he also learned to be an active listener, juggle many tasks at once, delegate work, and value of practicing self-care.

“I think the whole staff is really good about making sure everyone is taking care of themselves,” he said. “All the training that we have in working with people who are in crisis or who have traumatic backgrounds, that ends up changing the way we work with our co-workers.  I feel like everybody at Compass is really encouraging,”

Gemora is moving to Oregon, where he hopes to become a special education elementary school teacher.

“I’m going to miss my co-workers, the volunteers, and the clients. I’m very attached to everybody,” he said.

While Compass Center is sad to say goodbye, we are excited for his new adventures that lie ahead!


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