Why I volunteer: Dr. John Stewart on Helpmate

Dr. John Stewart

Editor’s note: In the spirit of our spring Nonprofit Issue, we reached out to volunteers from several local nonprofit organizations, asking them to reflect on what inspired them to begin their work and the impact it has had on both the community and themselves. 

Very early in my medical career I encountered numerous patients whose lives were being negatively impacted by domestic violence. I was moved by these patients because individual agency and self-direction have been important to me from an early age and I saw these patients were in relationships robbing them of these important aspects of their humanity.

Thirty-five years ago, I moved to Asheville to continue my career and immediately looked for a local referral source for the patients I knew I would be seeing. I found Helpmate and began supporting the group anyway I could. And I’ve just never stopped.

I was privileged to serve on the board of directors for over 15 years, including a term as board president. I was able to help with fundraising for the creation of the Men Who Care group, whose biennial luncheon has been successful in raising both awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization.

Upon retirement 10 years ago, I began taking a weekly shift answering Helpmate’s 24-hour crisis line, and this has enabled me to continue to have direct client contact, which I value.

Both personally and professionally, supporting Helpmate over the years has been deeply rewarding. Until my community is free of intimate partner violence, I want there to be quality services available to those who need them. It feels good to think I can do my small part to make that happen.

For more information on Helpmate, visit helpmateonline.org.


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