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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bilingual Community Advocate, On The Rise, Cambridge, MA

Bilingual Community Advocate

Posted on: November 26, 2013
Posted by: On the Rise


On The Rise, Inc. (OTR) is a dynamic, Cambridge, MA-based non-profit founded in 1995 that serves women in crisis and homelessness throughout the region. Our Safe Haven Program's innovative approach has unprecedented success with women who are unable to make full use of other community programs for reasons that may include their histories (trauma, violence and abuse are ubiquitous) and present conditions (many women are coping with multiple issues, from physical and mental health concerns, to addiction, criminal histories, and more). In the face of these obstacles, women who participate in OTR's programs leverage their initiative and core strengths to find safety and discover new possibilities.

This full-time exempt position reports directly to the Program Director. One position on the 6-person Advocacy Team is currently open. The position may be filled by an experienced individual with high school diploma or GED who has at least three years' direct service experience with trauma survivors, substance users, people with mental health issues and/or homelessness. Relevant life experience will also be strongly considered for the position. FLEUNCY IN SPANISH IS REQUIRED.

An advocate's responsibilities begin at the Safe Haven, a daytime program where women experiencing trauma and homelessness may address some basic human needs such as food, clothing, rest and hygiene. At the Safe Haven Community Advocates spend both casual and intensive time with individual women, many of whom are trauma survivors, struggle with mental and physical health issues, and substance use/abuse.

The Advocacy Team builds relationships with the women in this environment, and these relationships are the basis for long-term, broad-based support both inside and outside the Safe Haven. Such support may take the form of assistance in using other programs through accompaniment and advocacy; support may relate to a wide range of issues, including housing, drug and alcohol treatment, domestic violence, sexual assault, childhood and adult trauma, legal and criminal issues, parenting issues, physical and mental health issues, applying for public benefits, budgeting, sexual identity and orientation, and more.

Hours: OTR's normal business hours are 8-4 on weekdays. The Safe Haven is also open on most Saturdays and most holidays. In order to ensure adequate staffing during all the Safe Haven's scheduled operations, Community Advocates schedules may include one Saturday monthly and occasional holidays and exclude occasional weekdays.

  • Direct service to women: 
    • Providing broad-based, long-term emotional and general support to women in the Safe Haven, with other programs and offsite (at the hospital, in court, at other community programs, etc.)
    • Working with women to help them articulate their needs, supporting them in meeting these needs, helping them work through issues including housing, drug and alcohol abuse and treatment, domestic violence, sexual assault, childhood and adult trauma, legal and criminal issues, parenting issues, physical and mental health concerns, benefits, budgeting, sexual identity and orientation, and more
    • Facilitating women's access to other programs including information and referral, accompaniment to and advocacy at other agencies and programs, coordinating follow-up care and assistance
    • Crisis intervention and harm reduction, including assessment of danger and risk
  • Collaboration:
    • Collaboration within the Advocacy Team to provide a safety net of support for women at OTR that is not wholly dependent on particular staff members, and to leverage the diverse skills of different team members in complex, multi-layered problem-solving
    • Strengthening professional relationships within the continuum of service providers, enhancing the success and effectiveness of referrals between OTR and other programs, and providing a smoother integration for women into and through the system – in keeping with OTR's "mortar between the bricks" philosophy
    • Acting as occasional "ambassador" of OTR to community members, donors, and other interested parties at site visits, open houses, and other organizational events
  • Organization:
    • Regular exercise of independent judgment and discretion
    • Participation in maintaining a safe, clean, healthy physical environment, adequate supplies, etc.
    • Certain aspects of day-to-day program management, e.g. meetings, scheduling
    • Recordkeeping and reporting
    • Active participation in program development and evaluation, identification of service gaps, etc.
  • Other: 
    • Like all OTR employees, Community Advocates will be flexible and open to "pitching in" as needed with other duties that arise in the course of a 13-employee organization's day-to-day operations
    • Like all OTR employees, Community Advocates are expected to strive to continuously increase skills and competence, e.g. taking advantage of opportunities for professional networking and continuing education
What We Are Looking For

On The Rise enjoys an excellent reputation within the support of a committed and diverse community. We are looking for a person who can build on our strong history and excellent programming, to continue to increase the quality and positive impact of our programs on women in crisis and homelessness.

The ideal candidate has:
  • Personal experience with the issues facing the women who use our services (homelessness, trauma, substance use/abuse, domestic violence, physical/mental health issues, etc.)
  • Exceptional commitment to the mission of On The Rise and to furthering this mission through direct service to women
  • Demonstrated interest in or prior work with trauma, substance abuse, mental health, homelessness
  • Understanding of and/or prior work using harm reduction and relational approaches, and to using these approaches to achieve social justice aims through direct service
  • Knowledge of human service agencies and programs throughout Greater Boston
  • Commitment and tact in contributing to the work of a multi-disciplinary team and assisting a diverse population, while maintaining personal standards and performance
  • Desire to keep learning and stretching
  • Determination to "meet each woman where she is" using creative, professional approaches
  • Strength and self-knowledge in maintaining personal/professional boundaries, acknowledging personal limitations
  • Judgment and experience in helping women prioritize competing, often conflicting, needs
  • Rapport and discretion in dealing with sensitive, confidential matters
  • Sense of humor
  • Ability to work in a diverse and fast-paced environment; open to new ideas
  • Microsoft Office literacy and internet savvy
A valid driver's license and a personal vehicle are required for light to moderate use for employment purposes.

Salary commensurate with experience plus great benefits.

On The Rise is partially supported by MOVA through the 1984 VOCA grant from the Office of Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

On The Rise recognizes the importance and benefits of diversity in the workplace and the community. We are an AA/EOE, and we strongly encourage people of color to apply. Individuals who have experienced homelessness or overcome other significant life challenges are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please send your resume and a cover letter addressing the questions below:
  1. What excites you about On The Rise's mission?
  2. What are your strongest skills and qualifications that will help you in this position?
Please submit your materials online to: with "Community Advocate " in the subject line.


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