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RISE up and volunteer! Join the ranks of volunteers that make RISE so impactful in our community. In 2020, RISE volunteers contributed 1,444 hours of volunteer service to our community and served over 900 people.

Learn more about becoming a volunteer crisis counselor, our internship opportunities, and most importantly - how to work directly with survivors and loved ones affected by sexual assault and intimate partner violence.


Volunteers primarily help to staff our 24-hour crisis hotline, which includes the following responsibilities:
- Crisis Support: Provide information, support & advocacy to survivors & loved ones on our after-hours hotline.
- Accompaniments: Accompany survivors at law enforcement interviews & medical forensic exams.
- Advocacy: Interact with partner agencies to advocate for survivors and their loved ones.
- Emergency Shelter: Intake & transport clients into our emergency shelters, orienting them and providing support throughout.

Other opportunities include:
- Prevention Education: Assist our education team with prevention programs & community organizing in the classroom and community.
- Community Outreach: Staff information tables at community health fairs, farmer's markets, and other events.


RISE also has a number of internship opportunities available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as interested community members. Internship positions are available in the areas of Crisis Services, Prevention Education, and Development & Marketing. Internship commitments last for 6 months (two academic quarters, or one semester) and can be developed based on your passions and experience. Crisis Services & Prevention Education Interns must be 65-hour trained. Please email the Volunteer Manager at for more information.


RISE is devoted to ending sexual and intimate partner violence and our committed, inspiring volunteers are the backbone of our work. As a volunteer, you will have the opportunity to directly assist survivors and loved ones affected by these issues, as well as earn dual certification as a California State Crisis Counselor for Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence. This is a great resume booster for job applications, graduate school, and other career development opportunities, offering transferable skills in crisis management, peer counseling, teamwork, database coordination, confidentiality, and much more. The curriculum is state certified, meaning the information is also transferable to any other Rape Crisis Center or Domestic Violence Shelter in California!
Volunteers also feel a deeper connection to their community, and are able to give back in a way that feels meaningful to them. Check our #WhyIVolunteer series below:


Previous experience is not required to participation in training - you learn all you need to know in our certification course! Therefore, all volunteers must complete the 65-hour training to become a California State Certified Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Crisis Counselor.

Qualifications to participate in training:

  • A passion for ending intimate partner violence & sexual assault.
  • Patient, empathetic and sensitive to the diverse needs and backgrounds of clients.
  • Ability (or willingness to learn) to communicate effectively with people in crisis and remain calm during crisis situations.
  • Must maintain complete client & shelter location confidentiality.
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) language capabilities are strongly preferred, but not required.
  • Past/present perpetrators of abuse are not eligible to participate in training.

While survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and/or Sexual Assault are welcome, they must be emotionally ready to assist other survivors. As the training and work can be triggering, we encourage abundant self-awareness, self-care and a significant amount of healing prior to enrolling in the class.

RISE is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against applicants due to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, veteran status, or on the basis of disability. We strive to offer inclusive, accessible, and accommodating services to everyone in our community by centering & amplifying marginalized voices & experiences within the movement.


The training covers all aspects of crisis counseling, both for intimate partner violence and sexual assault. The course begins with foundational topics, such as our agency history & RISE services, the anti-gender based violence movement, privilege, oppression, and intersectionality. With that intersectional framework as a basis for discussion throughout the course, we learn about sexual assault & intimate partner violence dynamics, neurobiology of trauma, crisis intervention & active listening skills, confidentiality & mandated reporting, the criminal justice system, accompaniment procedures, resource referrals in the community, agency protocols, and several hours of crisis practice/role plays in groups.

Each session, we have time to debrief & build community with one another - sharing our experiences, emotions, and learning edges.

Cal Poly students: Every Winter Quarter, the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and RISE offer WGS 401-02: Intimate Partner Violence & Sexual Assault - Theory, Research, Policy & Advocacy, which constitutes the first ~40 hours of certification. If you are a Cal Poly student, consider getting a head start on your training! These hours can be supplemented at a later date, to complete your certification.


Attendance & Commitment:
- Attendance is mandatory at all training sessions.
- Commitment to a minimum of 1 year of service with the agency post training graduation.
- Attendance at 8 of 12 monthly in-service (continuing education) meetings per year of service.
- Commitment to a minimum of 3 after-hours hotline shifts per month. Your commitment begins the month after your successful completion of the training.

Other Requirements:
- California state certification as an Intimate Partner Violence & Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor in accordance with California Penal Code. (Certification is contingent on satisfactory completion of training requirements with Volunteer Manager’s approval.)
- Reliable transportation (for accompaniments & shelter intakes)
- Valid driver’s license.
- Proof of current automobile insurance.
- Cell phone accessibility.
- 18 years old by the time of first crisis shift.
- Successful completion of a fingerprint background check.


All interested volunteers will complete an online application. After a review of the applications, the Volunteer Manager will interview folks to learn more about their experiences and motivations. Personal & professional references will be checked at that time. There is limited space for each training, so apply early & provide plenty of information! All volunteers with RISE are thoroughly screened and fingerprinted after acceptance into the program.

Feel free to contact Molly or Jordyn, our Volunteer Managers at or with any questions.


Our Fall 2021 training will run from September 21st to November 13th.

RISE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides crisis intervention and treatment services to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and their loved ones. All services are provided confidentially, at low or no cost, to anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability or citizenship status. All crisis services are available in Spanish and English.