Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is butterflies in your stomach and having someone who pushes you to be your best you. It could be long walks on the beach or a thoughtful gift when you’re having a bad day. It’s what so many are searching for even after heartbreak. It motivates and, quite frankly, love is beautiful.
Before joining the National Health Corps Florida (NHC FL) ,AmeriCorps program, I was deeply involved in supporting awareness for domestic violence and violence against women issues. I was active in my sorority’s philanthropy for domestic violence awareness and was also a Teaching Assistant at my university's Student Health Center for relationship abuse prevention. Through standing up for women experiencing abuse, I came to truly understand the importance of healthy relationships and the life ruining implications that unhealthy relationships can have. However, the chance to serve on the front line against domestic violence at the Hubbard House has been an opportunity of a lifetime.
On an average service day, I facilitate the WAVE (Working Against Violence Everyday) program. It is a violence prevention program that includes bullying prevention, relationship abuse prevention, conflict resolution, self-esteem activities, and even emotion identifying strategies. My position gives me the flexibility to not only facilitate these classes for local public school students but also with children victims on-site at our shelter.
I know what you’re thinking… that’s a lot of time with kids. However, I am six months into my service term, and I don’t think I could be happier. Building trusting relationships with the children and serving as an adult they can depend on is one of the most beautiful parts of my service. As soon as I walk in the group room, hearing them get out of their chairs to hug me and yell “Miss Cece!!!” makes everything worth it.
If someone asked me before I became a NHC Florida member what I thought love was, I would have probably started to name off the cliques you hear in romance movies. However, I now have a tremendously different idea.
Love is bravely starting over your life because you realize you are worth it. Love is waking up and serving or working 10 hours in a day because you truly care about the survivors you provide services to. Love is courageously sharing your own story to give comfort to others. Love is the moment when a victim tells you they want to be called a survivor. Love is teaching local kids in the community the importance of loving yourself. Love is hearing a middle school student in your WAVE group tell you, “Miss Cece, you have been one of the kindest people in my life. I hope no one ever hurts you. ” Love is all the services the Hubbard House staff and volunteers provide free of charge because they understand that each domestic violence case should be looked at as a future potential homicide ( which is essentially the nightmare that many victims live in everyday).
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love doesn’t have to just be with a significant other. Love is our biggest line of defense against domestic violence. Love is stronger.
This blog post was written by NHC Florida Member, Cecilia Rosopa.
Cecilia serves at Hubbard House as a Health Educator.