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Volunteer/Intern FAQ

MSU Safe Place offers a variety of experiences and learning opportunities to volunteers and interns that are unique to working with survivors of relationship violence and stalking. During their time at Safe Place, volunteers and interns learn how to offer client-centered, trauma-informed, empowerment-based services to survivors, co-survivors, and community members.

Learn more by viewing testimonials from past volunteers and interns.

There are a few differences between volunteers and interns.

  1. Service Areas: Volunteers have a choice in which service areas they provide. They have the option of selecting just one service area or multiple. Interns are expected to participate in most or all of the service areas as a part of their learning experience.
  2. Supervision: Interns are required to attend weekly supervision. Volunteers are required to attend bi-weekly check-ins. Both volunteers and interns are encouraged to debrief with the Volunteer Coordinator as needed.
  3. Time Requirements: Interns provide more service hours than volunteers. Interns are required to attend weekly supervision with their supervisor. Weekly supervision occurs once a week for around one hour. Weekly supervision is a time to debrief interactions with clients; discuss learning opportunities, experiences, challenges faced; get clarification; and ask questions. During supervision, interns and supervisors may review and discuss assigned materials, or attend trainings. Supervision is a time to reflect on experiences and prepare for future work and engagements. Interns are typically required to schedule between 12-18 hours a week at Safe Place. Volunteers are only required to have a minimum of 4 hours a week at Safe Place.
  4. Staff Meetings: Interns are required to attend Wednesday morning staff meetings. Volunteers can attend if interested but it is not required.
  5. Counseling & Support Groups: 2nd year MSW interns are able to facilitate support group and counseling services under supervision of full-time staff. 1st year MSW, interns, BSW interns and non-SW interns are able to co-facilitate support group with a full-time staff member or 2nd year MSW intern. At this time volunteers are not permitted to facilitate support group or counseling services.*

*Some interns choose to later become volunteers after their internships have ended, these volunteers are able to continue to facilitate support group services under supervision of full-time staff.

Volunteers and interns are asked to complete a multiple day training prior to starting at MSU Safe Place. The training consists of 5-6 live sessions lasting around 2-7 hours per session. The training is a hybrid of virtual and in-person activities and sessions. Between each session trainees are asked to complete asynchronous materials independently.

During training, participants will cover the following topics:

  • relationship violence and stalking
  • neurobiology of trauma
  • advocacy skills
  • crisis intervention
  • self-awareness
  • humility
  • diversity
  • empathy
  • impacts of domestic violence in marginalized communities
  • setting boundaries
  • self-care.

Snacks, drinks and sensory materials will be available for volunteers, and interns during in-person training.

Volunteers must pick at least one, but can select as many as they would like. Some service areas require extra training, and have task requirements that need to be completed by a given deadline. Some service areas are completed on an as needed basis. Reach out to Lara Hayden, the Volunteer Coordinator, to a get a better understanding which service areas are best fit for you. 

We ask that you volunteer with Safe Place for at least 4 hours a week for one semester (3-4 months). We ask that volunteers and interns work with the Volunteer Coordinator to establish a schedule that best fits your needs and the needs of MSU Safe Place.
A monthly meeting can look like many things and is based off of volunteer needs. A monthly meeting could consist of a new training opportunity, self-care activity, or debriefing with other volunteers. Monthly meetings are a time to help support volunteers and interns and ensure their needs are being met while at MSU Safe Place.
The bi-weekly check in is an informal meeting with the Volunteer Coordinator to check in about volunteer's role, and experience at Safe Place. This is a time to debrief interactions with clients, discuss tasks, offer feedback to the volunteer coordinator, and work through challenges the volunteers may be facing.
Interns are required to attend weekly supervision with their supervisor. Weekly supervision occurs once a week for around one hour. Weekly supervision is a time to debrief interactions with clients; discuss learning opportunities, experiences, challenges faced; get clarification; and ask questions. During supervision, interns and the supervisor may review and discuss assigned materials, or trainings attended. Supervision is a time to reflect on experiences and prepare for future work and engagements.

Yes, class credit can be obtained for time spent volunteering or interning at MSU Safe Place. If you are looking for class credit connected to volunteering or interning at Safe Place, reach out to Lara Hayden, the Volunteer Coordinator, prior to applying and inquire about opportunities.

We prioritize the health and well-being of our volunteers, interns and clients. While we recognize and value the support of survivors in this work, we also want to acknowledge that re-traumatization can occur when survivors are doing this work.

We ask that survivors of relationship violence, stalking, family violence, or systemic violence of any kind, have at least one year since receiving advocacy, counseling, and/or shelter services from any organization before applying to volunteer with our program.


During the interview process volunteers and interns will be asked to have a conversation with the Volunteer Coordinator regarding past, current, and/or future experiences with violence and how this may impact their work as a volunteer/intern.
Lara Hayden (she-they)
Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (517) 353-4155
haydenL8@msu.edu


MSU Safe Place
Phone: (517) 355-1100
noabuse@msu.edu

Contact Lara Hayden, the Volunteer Coordinator for further information.

Lara Hayden (she-they)

Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (517) 353-4155
haydenL8@msu.edu