Recognizing Valencia Edwards-Alleyne: A Pillars of Change Honoree

In anticipation of Pillars of Change on June 11th, we are highlighting Sanctuary Volunteers who will be honored at the volunteer recognition event! Learn More and Register for Pillars of Change.

Valencia Edwards-Alleyne has been a volunteer within Sanctuary’s Children and Family Services Program for numerous locations since 1997!

Before volunteering her time at Sanctuary, Valencia had previous experience working as a camp counselor and wanted to continue working with children in any way that could make a difference. Valencia started as a childcare volunteer, working directly with Sanctuary staff members taking care of children of clients while they attended meetings or support groups. She eventually became a group leader and now runs childcare groups independently. Valencia has continued to expand her role at Sanctuary and her professional expertise has proven a huge asset as well. Valencia has a Masters in early childhood special education and has worked as a teacher for children with special needs for almost the entire time she has volunteered at Sanctuary.

Most recently, Valencia has been volunteering with Sanctuary through the Brooke Jackman Family Literacy Program in the Manhattan Family Justice Center, while preparing to attend a second summer of Camp HOPE New York as a volunteer counselor!

Valencia has been an incredibly invaluable volunteer to the clinical staff throughout the agency; she has provided a positive and memorable time for children while parents receive much-needed services. “I hope that I help to provide the clients with a sense that their children are safe and in good hands during their meetings” Valencia explains.

First, just being a dependable person for 20 years is just a priceless contribution. For children who have experienced a lot of loss and trauma, consistency is so critical to feeling safe and that the world can be dependable” says Laura Fernandez, LMSW, Clinical Department Director.

On Thursday evenings, Valencia provides support to our Survivor Leadership Institute. The innovative program trains former Sanctuary clients, who have been out of their abusive situations for approximately one year, to provide information about gender-based violence to community groups. Survivor Leaders are living examples of how victims can recover their health, power, and self-esteem by seeking help.

“Valencia has seen my son from a very scared and confused 9-year-old in the midst of a domestic violence crisis to a put together and confident 14-year-old. She has been an integral part of helping us rebuild our lives, as I pursued my healing and training at Sanctuary, and he came to feel secure and at home in the space. She was able to create a calm oasis for him when he was a child and now that he’s a teen, she is still able to meet his needs. He has such great, warm feelings about Sanctuary, and that is largely due to the stability and peace that Valencia has created in the childcare room.”

Over the past 20 years, Sanctuary’s staff and services have grown exponentially, and Valencia has been an integral part in providing support to many of our new programs within the Clinical and Children and Family Services department.

“She is selfless and so kind. She makes my children feel safe and they trust and love her so much. Her volunteer service helps me personally so much”

We thank Valencia for her amazing commitment to Sanctuary’s staff and clients! Her impact reaches well beyond what can be captured in words.

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on June 11th, 2019 to recognize Valencia and all of our volunteers for their dedicated service. Please RSVP for Pillars of Change today!