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Volunteer Spotlight: April Hufford

1. What inspired you to volunteer with Human Options?

My mother is my greatest inspiration. As a young woman she was married to a violent man, but found the courage and strength to save us both when she found out that she was pregnant with me, her first child. Before I was born, she was able to escape with the full and tangible support of family, but this is not the case for everyone. Ten years ago, when given the opportunity to volunteer at a Human Options shelter, through my church, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been devoted to supporting families breaking the cycle of relationship violence ever since.

2. What has been your most memorable experience as a volunteer?

There are too many to choose from! But I can narrow it down to a category: Celebrating Achievements. My time staging homes for incoming residents at Second Step and Third Step transitional shelters has had me knocking about the properties, crossing paths with moms and kids. I’ve often found myself blessed to be at the right place at the right time to be among the first to receive someone’s “big news.” Whether it’s making the basketball team, nailing a job interview, the thrill of getting into a training program, the joy of securing permanent housing, or any victory shared, being able to champion someone in a staggeringly hopeful moment, is the best experience ever. 

3. What motivates you to continue volunteering?

Over forty years ago, Human Options was founded on a vision in defense of a universal right: that people should feel safe in their own home. I continue to volunteer in support of that simple, yet profound, aspiration. 

4. What skills or lessons have you learned through your volunteer work so far?

Our culture often praises “main character energy”, but in my experience, and in line with my faith, making time to be the background to another’s foreground and looking to the interests of someone else above your own, are at the heart of volunteerism. One humble kindness at a time, honoring the dignity of others, adds up and can help change lives, especially in partnership with people who share your passion to serve. Over time, the beautiful counter-culture surprise is that YOU will end up changed for the better. 

5. How has volunteering impacted your personal and/or professional life?

I try to move about in all spheres of my life with this lesson learned: Don’t wait for “The Big Idea”. We don’t have to be more, we’re already enough for what’s in front of us. We all have unique talents and resources that can be used now, in the service of something greater than ourselves. While we’re seeing and meeting individual needs, and developing our skills, and listening and learning, maybe a pattern will develop, maybe not. Whatever the case, a trail of incremental successes has Impact. 

6. How do you think volunteering contributes to building stronger communities?

Solving big problems by breaking them down into their smaller parts is well-tested wisdom. I think it follows that volunteerism at the local level is a crucial component to addressing the most pressing issues in our world. Keep donating, keep raising voices, keep voting, be an ally, absolutely! Our communities also need our hearts to move our hands and feet too. One volunteer at a time, our communities do grow stronger. 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, reach out to Human Options’ 24-hour crisis hotline at 877-854-3594. We’re here to help. If you’re interested in extending hope for survivors through volunteering, visit our website at humanoptions.org/get-involved/   

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