The El Dorado Women's Center in Placerville, CA is a nonprofit agency dedicated to serving adult and child victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. It serves a large, primarily rural community. With only a small staff, the Center relies on volunteers, such as Michael Coffman, to assist in efforts to provide quality services.
Coffman has been a volunteer with the Center since completing a 62-hour, in-depth volunteer training program in the spring of 1997. In 1998, despite suffering from chronic pain due to a serious back problem, Coffman gave 480 volunteer hours, helping in three programs. He is also a regular volunteer at the Center's safe house. He is best known there for his loving nature in working with children from violent homes. He also counsels battered women living in the shelter and serves as a role model as a nonviolent male. When not working with shelter residents, Coffman has done maintenance work for the Center, such as painting the entire shelter and fixing broken bicycles and other toys.
The "Men's Alternative to Abusive Patterns" (M.A.A.P.) program is as 52-week batterers treatment program for which Coffman has served as volunteer facilitator. He has shown an extraordinary amount of dedication to the M.A.A.P. program and its participants. Because he has experienced much of what the group members have experienced, he has a unique ability to share his own story while remaining completely professional. He is living proof that the program works.
Coffman also volunteers in the Center's Community Education program. In 1998, he assisted the Center with their volunteer training program and outreach and he participated in special projects such as the Holiday Adopt-A-Family give away, the Kid's Expo and health fairs. Also in 1998, Coffman began teaching a Personal Safety course to groups of developmentally disabled adults. Two female staff members originally started the new outreach program. After completion of the first group, they realized that their team would be much more effective if they added a male instructor. Coffman has since committed himself to assisting with three weekly groups.
"There are many dedicated volunteers at the El Dorado Women's Center, but Michael Coffman stands apart from the rest and deserves special recognition," remarked Karen Howard, the Community Education Coordinator, "while no one person can ever measure the impact of another on his community, when Coffman does outreach presentations, people listen and respond. When he facilitates in the M.A.A.P. program, he inspires men to believe they can change. Most of all, he makes the Center's goal of eliminating sexual assault and domestic violence seem reachable."