In 2007, Linda Kautzky was a stay-at-home mom with two small children. She was looking for a volunteer opportunity where she could give back to the community and make a meaningful impact. She began doing data entry work for 360 Communities.
She says the work helped her understand the breadth of services and resources that 360 Communities provides to support families in need. She could also see how effective the holistic approach was in addressing barriers to success.
Linda wanted to do more. She had a passion for family health and safety. She next decided to connect with the Lewis House to see if there was a volunteer role she could fill there. She discovered there were many opportunities available, and that the shelter had a need for a Lewis House support group facilitator.
Lewis House holds support group sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday to aid survivors of abuse and to help stem
family violence. Several years ago, Linda began leading the Wednesday session at the Eagan Lewis House shelter.
“The support group session is an hour and a half for the women who are there to get whatever they need to get off their chest, whatever they need to start to make connections to help them heal,” Kautzky says.
Kautzky starts the meeting by asking how everyone’s week is going, finding a common theme, and starting a discussion from there. The women are provided resources, and are given a packet of material to talk about based on the discussion.
The group sessions are relatively small, with around three to four women at a meeting. Kautzky says this allows for her and the other women to build relationships with one another. “When they are supporting each other, that’s when I feel like I’ve done my best job,” Kautzky says.
Lewis House advocate Kelly Ray says Kautzky’s contributions are valuable and appreciated. “She is very helpful, understanding, and she has a good ear,” says Ray, “For her to have that kind of commitment and also the passion that she has is huge. She has a big heart.”
Kautzky says the support group is a great way to give back to her community. “And I am always and forever impressed with the women who come to the support group — how strong they are, how capable they are, even when they may not actually realize it yet. They are amazing women. So it’s an honor to work with them.”