Transcript of “Rights Here, Rights Now –

Episode 16: “Volunteer with dLCV!”

Produced by the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.


[INTRO]:                      The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Instead, all information, content and materials available are for general informational purposes only.


[VIRGINIA]:                 Welcome to Right Here, Right Now!, a podcast about disability advocacy and activism. I'm your Advocate host, Virginia Pharis.


[REN]:                          And I'm your Advocate host, Ren Faszewski.


[VIRGINIA]:                 Every two weeks we've taken to relevant issues, current events, and avenues for self-advocacy.


[REN]:                         Someone has to.


[VIRGINIA]:                 And it might as well be us!


[REN]:                          This podcast is produced by the disAbility Law Center of Virginia, the Commonwealth’s protection and advocacy agency for disability rights.


**Find out more at**


[VIRGINIA]:                 Well Ren, we have an exciting one…something to ‘stir the masses!’ Something to get people involved. Today.


[REN]:                         Yes!


[VIRGINIA]:                 Uh, today we are talking to Valerie Jones who is our volunteer guru. And she’s going to be talking to us about all the great many things people can do if they want to…lend a helping hand at dLCV. And how they can do that!


[REN]:                          And, I know I appreciate that because volunteers make…our work at dLCV so much sweeter. So much better. They are, really, the backbone that serves our agency, so, I know I’m excited.


[VIRGINIA]:                 But before we jump in, let’s check out disability in the news!


[NARRATOR]:             Google is introducing new technology to simplify their phones for those with disabilities. They have created a new app called Action Blocks for android devices that is designed to make routine smartphone tasks easier. This app will allow users to create a one touch button on their home screen to make tasks easier, such as calling mom or turning the lights on. This will reduce steps needed to complete these tasks. Google Maps is also releasing a new accessibility feature called Accessible Places. When enabled, users will see a wheelchair icon displayed to indicate if a location has an accessible entrance, seating, restrooms, and parking.


Google will also confirm if a place does NOT have accessible features. At this time Google is also improving their Live Transcribe app that provides real time transcription for conversations and Sound Amplifier, which clarifies the sounds around you. These apps and updates will be rolling out soon so keep your eyes out for them!


[VIRGINIA]:                 All right! Again, today, in the studio, we have the lovely Valerie Jones. She is our Community Relations specialist. And manages our volunteer database. Thank you so much for coming in, Valerie.


[Enters, Valerie Jones]


[VALERIE]:                   Thank you so much- I’m glad to be here.


[VIRGINIA]:                 So, tell us about the volunteer program?


[VALERIE]:                   Okay. Well, we had many visions for the volunteer program. One of our main visions was to create advocates within every community. The purpose of this program was to provide meaning for volunteers AND strengthen and enhance dLCV’s advocacy services. The disAbility Law Center program serves to extend our reach throughout the Virginia area by increasing understanding and awareness of Disability Rights in the Commonwealth.


[REN]:                          Awesome! I know that’s something that’s near and dear to all of our hearts. And that it is a big stage. So we definitely need to reach out. What kind of opportunities are there for volunteers? What would they be doing?


[VALERIE]:                   Some of the opportunities we have are um on some committees that we’re trying to fill.  We have committees such as the Mental Health Advocacy, the Finance and Audit Committee, Compensation and Benefits- which is the Personnel Committee, the Governance Committee, Public Influence and Priorities Committee, and the advocacy volunteers. So those are some of the volunteer committees that we have.  But we have other opportunities, such as, the CHRIS database, which is a database where incident reports are housed.


We do resource fairs and we table at events.  We have opportunities for administrative work such as staffing the front desk, assembling packages, data entry like typing and copying documents, sorting and filing adult Protective Services.  There are lots of other opportunities we have. Depending upon your skill…we can fulfill that opportunity for you. As a volunteer.


[VIRGINIA]:                 This started out as a question in my mind but then just became me wanting to brag on you for a minute. J [Smile.] Valerie has done such a good job connecting, uh, at the very least me in some of the work I do, with volunteers, you have mentioned what’s called our CHRIS database, which we’ve gotten through the state of Virginia. And we need to look at all of those reports. And, using volunteers for that takes the staff commitment of something like that down from like a solid four days a week of somebody having to look at those reports to maybe like ONE or TWO days a week.


It’s really like freed up our time, so we can do more of that like, direct advocacy work! Are there any other projects that I haven’t mentioned, that you haven’t gotten to mention that uh, maybe we’ve had success with in the past?


[VALERIE]:                   During election season, we have surveying projects that come up where we ask volunteers to assist with that. Which is…they will go to the website and put in their information, where they live, and then it’ll bring up all the polling locality, and what we asked them to do is just go around and make sure that the voting precinct is accessible.  So, we provide a survey. There’s actually a training session. We look to provide all the right things when it comes to accessibility.


[REN]:                          This is something that we reference in our episode with Joliefawn about the voting surveys. So again, that’s part of all these volunteer projects that we have as far as dLCV, and that’s a really important one. I didn’t realize that we had so many committees, Valerie! How many- you just have committees on committees on committees!


[VALERIE]:                   Yes, the mental health advocacy, which is like, the PAMI Advisory Council, which is- it provides guidance and imput about the needs of the mental health community in Virginia. So um, if you would like to find out more about ALL of these committees what you will do is- go to our website: And there it will take you to all of the committees and it’ll give you in depth detail about what we’re looking for as far as the responsibilities. How, coming into the office, as far as phones, you know, doing the committees by phone, and after you answer about your skill set, you drop down to the bottom and you click on a LINK to the application. To join the committee. The latest one we have is the advocacy volunteers committee.  dLCV is developing a program for volunteers to provide training for advocates throughout Virginia. That’s just a brief detail, and like I said, prior to that, please just go to the website, and that’ll give you the actual committees that we are looking for volunteers.


[VIRGINIA]:                 Generally speaking- What are good qualities for a volunteer to have? What are you looking for in your volunteers?


[VALERIE]:                   So, well…first of all let’s start out and say: ALLL volunteers are welcome. We are interested in a commitment of at least 4 hours per month for a 12 month period. You do not have to be a lawyer to become a volunteer. We welcome all volunteers of all kinds! We encourage people with disabilities and people from diverse racial, ethnic AND cultural backgrounds to apply.


[VIRGINIA]:                 How have dLCV’s volunteer opportunities changed in the wake of COVID-19?


[VALERIE]:                   That’s a good question! So, what has happened is that we still have opportunities for volunteers at the current time.  We do, we do, express that we care about the well-being and concerns of the COVID 19 pandemic.  And we understand that this is part of the well-being of the community and we take your well-being as a top priority.  We have began, with some volunteers, in remote projects. Such as research projects, surveying the lottery establishment, and our most recent one- our virtual gala.  Once again, I have to stress, that the well-being of our volunteers is very important to us.


[VIRGINIA]:                 If people are interested in serving on committees we are doing those remotely right now as well.


[VALERIE]:                   Yes, we are.


[REN]:                          Yeah.  I do want to say- I love that we obviously have so many different kinds of volunteer opportunities.  So, anyone can be a dLCV volunteer. But it’s not just work that you need assistance with- like again, that you were talking about, with, you know…things in the past like sorting and filing packages, or, doing research, or, sorting through the CHRIS reports, but it’s also INPUT.  So, there’s volunteer input opportunities where people in the community can talk about what needs they’re seeing and what dLCV can do to better serve our constituents.


[VALERIE]:                   Yes, that is very true! And I’d also like to say that I stay in very close contact with our volunteers to ensure them that just b/c we’re going through this pandemic, that doesn’t mean they’re left out. I reassure them that they can always reach out, that DLCV will be there for them, etc.


[VIRGINIA]:                 So Valerie, one more time, if people are interested in becoming a volunteer, where do they go?


[VALERIE]:                   If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer you go to our website: You can either put in a backslash and go to “Volunteers” OR if you just wanna go straight to and you click on, “Get Involved.”  And from there, scroll down and you’ll see volunteer application.  And from there you’ll get an email and we’ll talk about the kind of work you want to do with dLCV.


[REN]:                          Well, thank you so much, Valerie.  You do such incredible work for dLCV!


[VIRGINIA]:                 You make our lives so much easier!  And, so do our volunteers.


[VALERIE]:                   Thank you so much for having me on here. I really enjoyed myself.


[VIRGINIA]:                 And now, a dLCV HIGHLIGHT!


[NARRATOR]:             dLCV Advocate Rachel did a webinar/presentation for parents and professionals about Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services for at least 65 attendees.  They all now know that services from DARS, or DBVI, for students with disabilities can begin as early as age 14.  They also now have knowledge of when to reach out to dLCV/CAP for services.  


[REN]:                          Thanks again to Valerie for joining us today. She is just delightful [facts! J] and thank (s to) all of our volunteers. We appreciate the work that you do.


[VIRGINIA]:                 Thank you for listening to another episode of Rights Here, Rights Now! Brought to you by the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.  We’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. PLEASE don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review.


[REN]:                          If you need assistance or want information about dLCV and what we do, visit us online at


[VIRGINIA]:                 Or, follow us on Twitter at @disabilityLawVa and share us with your friends.


[REN]:                          Until next time, I’m Ren F.


[VIRGINIA]:                 And I’m Virginia Pharis.  And this has been: Rights Here!


[REN]:                          Rights Now!


***End of Transcription***