Bronco Spotlight: Carla Gray Weiser
Michigan Sheriffs' Association Victim Services Advocate at Berrien County
In the role of a volunteer Victim Services Unit Advocate, I am part of a team that provides short-term crisis intervention at the scene of a death or other traumatic event. Whether the death is natural, a homicide, or a suicide, my responsibility is to comfort and support the victims, survivors and their loved ones through the initial shock. My job is to present resources that will help guide families through the next steps, like that of funeral preparations and grief counseling. I act as a liaison between families and police officers at the scene by helping families find answers to questions and officers maintain the investigative scene. My role frees officers to focus on their job while my team stays with the victims so they don't feel alone or ignored.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
Relief can be seen in the eyes of those we help. That's reward enough for me. At the scene of a death, many people don't know what to do next, yet my team provides a simple and concise resource packet that empowers them with answers. It is the information needed at the precise time of need. One challenge is that a Victim Services Unit Advocate responds 24 hours a day, seven days a week to a call-out. When I commit to being on call, I need to be ready at a moment's notice. My calendar can get a little tricky at times, but I find it worth the challenge.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
Volunteering at a nonprofit organization in my community helped prepare me in my career. A volunteer role allowed me to utilize my skills while learning a new culture and system. I’ve been able to put into practice the knowledge I gained from the OLP program at Western.
What advice would you offer students to help them decide on a career path?
Volunteer in your community while pursuing or deciding on a career. A volunteer role through the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association presented opportunities to put OLP principles into practice.