Volunteer Helps Battered Women through YWCA

Tuesday, September 8th 2009, 5:46 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Non-profit agencies are feeling the pinch in tough economic times. But agencies like the YWCA are taking a double hit, the need for donations is up but funds are down.

The YWCA runs the only battered women's shelter in Oklahoma County. When money runs lows, like now, the organization turns to the community for help.

Kat Powell has been a hairstylist for over 20 years. But when she's not chatting and working with clients at the salon, she uses her communication skills to help women who have been through a traumatic, life changing experience.

"I meet survivors of sexual assault at the hospital," said YWCA volunteer Kat Powell.

For her it's not just a hobby, it's a purpose, and work that has been an eye opener.

"You see news stories about sexual assault, but until you meet a survivor there is a whole other world out there that you don't even know exists," Powell said.

The same can be said for domestic violence. Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for women killed by men.

The main purpose of the YWCA is to house battered women and children. But last year, the agency lost about $150,000 in grants and donations, not to mention state fund cuts.

The new fiscal year brings new financial obstacles, so now more than ever, the YWCA relies on volunteers like Kat Powell. She said the work is easier than most people think, and for her it's a way to give back to the community.

"You are actually bringing something positive to what has happened to them. You are on the healing side of it," Powell said.

The Oklahoma City YWCA has not had to cut any of its crisis programs, but it did have to cut a youth program. The CEO said she is looking at new ways to raise money for the organization.

YWCA volunteers must attend training and some positions are on-call and require a certain level of education.