Volunteer Spotlight: Heather Deyton

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I first became passionate about helping survivors of abuse and sexual assault during graduate school. My responsibility within my graduate assistantship was to help raise awareness about gender violence among college students with the Campus Advocates Against Sexual Violence. I thrived with this experience and was amazed to see how educating others about this issue had such a huge impact.

After graduating, my first professional job was as a therapist at a domestic violence shelter. This provided me the amazing opportunity to work one-on-one with women and children survivors of violence and abuse. It was an indescribable privilege to see the survivors find their voice and use their newfound strength to empower others.

During my time at the domestic violence shelter, I was also an on-call advocate for the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee. This position allowed me the chance to meet with rape survivors at the hospital and hear their stories firsthand. Through this experience I realized something more proactive needed to be done, so I went back to school to earn my Ed.S. in school counseling. I am currently a school counselor and my hope is to educate a younger population about self-advocacy, respect for others and self, and the warning signs of abuse.

On the weekends I love spending time with my two kiddos, friends, and family. This usually involves watching UT football, having a cookout, exploring fun stuff to do in downtown Knoxville, spending time on the water and the outdoors in general, or just staying in our pj’s and cleaning the house all day!

I have loved volunteering with the amazing people at CCAHT, and to see the vital work they are doing to restore hope, value, and a future for human trafficking survivors. My next goal for volunteering is to work with the CCAHT Allies for Change program and to walk alongside survivors as they get a fresh start in life and rebuild normalcy for themselves.

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