Relating to victims of domestic violence comes easily for Jennifer Zhong.
Once a target of abuse, she’s turned her pain and anger into a positive experience by helping victims of crime through Victim Services Toronto (VST), which she joined as a volunteer in 2013.
The multi-service agency provides crisis response, trauma and support services to victims of crime and sudden tragic circumstances 24 hours a day. Supervised by crisis counsellors, volunteers provide crisis intervention and referrals, assist on the telephone or attend the scene as requested and also help with fundraising and other community outreach initiatives.
“I know what it’s like to feel abused and helpless,” said Zhong, who was presented with the Sandy Cappadocia Memorial Award at VST’s 19th annual general meeting and volunteer appreciation awards on December 4. “That’s why I joined Victim Services and other organizations like it to be an advocate for victims.”
Cappadocia was a 10-year VST volunteer who succumbed to brain cancer in December 2005 at age 33.
I know what it’s like to feel abused and helpless
Migrating from China 12 years ago, Zhong is pursuing criminology and women & gender studies at the University of Toronto.
She plans to become a Toronto Police officer.
VST program manager Sarah Rogers presented the award to Zhong.
“Her calm demeanour puts clients at ease and her language skills allow our services to be accessible to our Mandarin and Cantonese clients,” said Rogers. “In addition, her patience and communication skills allow her to teach new volunteers in a digestible and understandable manner and her charisma, enthusiasm and positive attitude lift a team on those difficult days…Words cannot express how grateful we are to have her as part of our team.”