Volunteering at Planned Parenthood has always been a goal of mine. Many things got in my way at my old college and hometown, mainly transportation. Moving to a city taught me how to take public transit and soon, taking the bus anywhere became second nature to me. This led me to eventually signing up for escort training at Planned Parenthood. I had finally overcome my biggest obstacle, leading to being able to live out the dream.
I went through the training with a sister activist group of clinic defenders, closely associated with Planned Parenthood, but not a part of it. It was mostly just an explanation of what we would do and what we would typically encounter. After completing it, I later received an email asking me to sign up for shifts. I signed up and volunteered on April 6th. I was with two other women and we all bonded immediately and had a lot of fun actually, helping people walk in and holding the door for people. It seems so simple but I really felt I made an impact by letting people know that there was a happy, non-judgmental person welcoming them. The most annoying part was the group of pro-life people singing and praying that the “killing chemicals” did not work on whoever was seeking abortive care.
The next shift I signed up for was last minute due to Planned Parenthood receiving word that a church would be performing the stations of the cross outside across the street. Luckily, nothing crazy happened which I feel they were scared of because there was a such a large group protesting.
I had a man tell me that “the devil will be your constant compainion” because of what I was doing. At my latest shift, I was petting a dog someone was out walking, and the same man told me to “enjoy dogs now…there’s no dogs in hell” and that Planned Parenthood was “making money off women’s bodies”.
All in all, I love what I’m now doing and I’m so glad this class gave me the push to learn how to take myself places and stand up for/show up for what I believe in, which is reproductive healthcare access to all people. I regularly blog/post on my instagram when I’m at Planned Parenthood, which has led to a few of my friends tell me they started volunteering also which is so amazing to think that I helped some others feel inspired to get into activism. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.