This issue’s staff spotlight features our newest team member, Erika Heddesheimer. Erika is an Adult Advocate and oversees the New Horizons newsletter. As a new advocate, Erika is excited to continue working in the community and serving victim-survivors.
Q. What is an adult advocate? What does a typical day look like for you?
A. An adult advocate works with clients to meet their goals and help them move forward from the violence they have suffered. On a typical day, I provide clients with crisis counseling, advocate for various client needs, and answer the hotline. I coordinate the New Horizons newsletter and am part of the Legislative Working Group, so throughout the week I am working on tasks related to those projects.
Q. What drew you to becoming an adult advocate?
A. I’ve always felt called to help those in need in any way I can. I recently graduated from American University where I earned my master’s degree in justice and law. Learning more about the experiences of victim-survivors and the struggles they face in accessing resources opened my eyes and drew me to advocacy. Through being an adult advocate, I have found a sense of purpose in my work that I hadn’t had before.
Q. What inspires you about your work in the intimate partner violence field?
A. I am inspired by the resiliency of victim-survivors and the network of people dedicated to helping them. Every day I talk to clients who amaze me with what they have been through and how they have overcome those obstacles. Working with the staff at New Horizons and local community organizations has shown me what it looks like to truly dedicate oneself to service and be selfless in your work.
Q. What advice do you have for possible clients who are looking for assistance from New Horizons?
A. It is always easier said than done, but reaching out for support is one of the most critical steps in empowering yourself and overcoming the obstacles that have been presented. There is a sea of people waiting to assist clients in whatever goals they want to achieve. Nobody deserves to endure any form of abuse and the staff at New Horizons is here and ready to remind clients that they deserve to be safe, happy, and thriving.