Meet NVRDC's Rochelle Kwan!

For the last 3 years, NVRDC has partnered with Lutheran Volunteer Corps to host a volunteer as part of our Case Management Team. LVC is a national nonprofit organization focused on building community, working for justice, and living simply and sustainably. Volunteers live together in intentional communities and work full-time throughout the city at various social justice oriented nonprofits. They further their education in social justice issues throughout the year by participating in workshops, conferences, and special events. 

We sat down with Rochelle and invited her to share a little bit about herself.

1.      Where are you coming to DC from?

I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. But for the last four years, I had been attending university in Los Angeles. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University in May, I had one short month home in San Francisco before jetting off to backpack through South America with my sister for five weeks. To continue this trend of quick transitions, just three days after returning home from South America, I repacked my life back up to journey across the country to my new home here in DC. I am beyond excited to finally be settled down again, yet in a brand new place, on the complete opposite coast. I cannot wait to see what the East Coast and DC have to offer as my new home.

2.      What will you be doing here during your LVC year?

During my LVC year here at NVRDC, I will be working as a Case Manager. In this role, my main purpose is to be an Advocate who supports survivors of sexual assault as best I can. I will be working closely with survivors to access any resources and services they made need, such as medical treatment, compensation assistance, legal support, therapeutic needs, shelter, and much more. In order to do so, I will also be working closely with law enforcement agencies, attorneys, forensic nurse examiners, health and other social welfare agencies throughout DC to ensure the survivors remain well-supported. Because of these interlocking connections with agencies outside of NVRDC, I will also respond to calls from the hospital to support survivors during medical forensic exams and attend court with survivors to once against provide support during any hearings or trials. Beyond the responsibilities of my position, during my LVC year here at NVRDC, I also hope to expand my knowledge about the process through which survivors of sexual assault must navigate and about the ways in which we as Advocates can best support them through this long process. I very much look forward to all the knowledge and experience I am sure to gain from my LVC year here at NVRDC.

3.      What made you want to work at NVRDC?

Ever since middle school, I’ve always known that I wanted to work in social justice for the rest of my life. At university, I studied Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Psychology, and through my four years of those studies, my passion for human rights even further flourished. From there, rather than jumping into a full job, I decided that I wanted to do a year of service with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and NVRDC was proposed as one option for my placement. I was immediately drawn to NVRDC because of its focus on the empowerment of survivors starting from the moment they arrive at the hospital throughout their healing process. I loved the idea of being an advocate supporting survivors, while the survivors were the ones deciding for themselves what was best for them to move forward. Eventually, I want to work with survivors of human trafficking, work that very much overlaps with work with survivors of sexual assault. So I am hoping, through my time here at NVRDC, that I will learn and gain experience that will also help move me forward in my future towards working with survivors of human trafficking.

4.      What’s your favorite thing about working here so far?

My favorite thing about working here so far has been the strong, passionate people I work with. I have never been so excited to go to work each day to a room filled with seven desks. The moment I arrived at NVRDC, everyone welcomed me so warmly. Everyone has been so supportive and patient as I learn the ropes of being a case manager. Also, it is so reassuring to know that I have seven other incredible case managers to turn to whenever I feel lost about anything. I can quite literally just turn around in my chair and ask any of them when I have a question. This office setup has also been conducive to work day pick-me-ups in the form of social justice conversations or simply cute animal videos. In just my first three weeks here at NVRDC, I have already fallen madly in love with my job and felt so very much at home.

5.      What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care?

Self-care has always been so incredibly important to me. I have always believed that you cannot help others until you have helped yourself. You can never give yourself fully unless you truly are full. My number one way to practice self-care is writing. I am an avid journaler. Avid to the point where I wake up at 6am every morning and write for about two hours while eating breakfast before going to work or doing anything else. Writing is not only my way of decluttering my mind, but also an important way for me to process through my millions of thoughts and discover more about myself. Through writing, I often come to realizations that I would not have otherwise come to without writing and talking it out with myself. Another way I practice self-care is cooking. My mother is a chef and my father owns a bakery. Needless to say, I grew up with food in my blood. However, straying from my parents, I became vegan a few years ago and am continuing to learn to push boundaries with ingredients to make them taste just as good as any other non-vegan dish. I am not a recipe person so I love the process of mixing and matching food and trusting my gut for a delicious meal.