In their Words...

Through her support over 50 individuals have completed probation.

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Volunteer Profiles - Meet Dara

In their Words...

Through her support over 50 individuals have completed probation.

Dara has been a volunteer with Volunteer Center’s Friends Outside program for three years. She has had a consistent presence since day one of her volunteer service and her unwavering support during the early months of the pandemic, while our community was sheltering in place, was invaluable.

Her dedication to supporting the well-being of the Friends Outside program clients has been continuously demonstrated over the years. She tirelessly makes herself available to meet clients where they’re at in their personal journeys — meeting them physically off-site because of transportation challenges or creating meaningful relationships virtually over the phone or online.

Her compassion continues as she meets with clients and provides support no matter their emotional state. This could mean fear of change, uncertainty about the future or remorse over the past.

Dara’s own lived experience in the criminal justice system and with overcoming addiction, enables deep understanding of the client’s needs. She remains open, calm and compassionate when working with clients.

The capacity in which Dara engages clients is through the Friends Outside Reentry Program and the Courage to Change CBT Journaling Program. With Reentry participants, Dara assesses their needs whether it be Substance Use Disorder, employment, education, housing, or basic needs like gathering documents for identification, attaining clothing or community resources. The Courage to Change program addresses client’s thinking errors, emotional regulation, and strengthening social values to promote healthy lifestyles free of criminal behavior.

Through her support, over 50 individuals have successfully completed probation.

Success stories include:

  • One client was able to get his driver’s license back after a decade of driving without it!
  • Another client completed their treatment program transitioning to a sober living environment and holding down a job for two years!

Dara tirelessly averages approximately 20+ volunteer hours a month. She accomplishes this even while visiting family on the East Coast. Her compassion and dedication to the program continues as she makes herself available to her case load even while traveling!

Dara is a true hero to the Friends Outside Program.

Because of Dara’s tireless commitment to the Volunteer Center’s Friends Outside Program, she has been nominated for a Be the Difference Award this year and will be honored at the in-person event on May 18th at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz. For more information about Be the Difference Awards and to purchase tickets, please VISIT THE BE THE DIFFERENCE AWARDS EVENT PAGE HERE.

Join us in celebration of amazing community volunteers like Dara!


Give Your Time

INSPIRED BY DARA’S STORY? Learn about volunteering with Friends Outside.

FIND YOUR CAUSE: Still trying to discover your passion? Explore volunteer opportunities currently available.

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