Sitting at a booth outside the Capitol, Bill Spahn pleasantly fields questions from the public on behalf of the Crime Victims Assistance Network Foundation (iCan). Spahn, who retired from a career in various aspects of computers and networking, discovered the volunteer opportunity while searching Craigslist in 2011. After intensive training, Spahn was counseling crime victims and making presentations to law enforcement and parole boards. He noticed that iCan needed help generating reports for its financial backers. Using his programming skills he created spreadsheets that make compiling the mountains of data each quarter a breeze. iCan is run by three dedicated individuals, including Margie Cueva, at bottom left. "Helping them be successful is what I enjoy," Spahn says. "It's nice to be able to use my skills to help them use their skills."
The iCan Foundation is a Sacramento based organization with the mission to "support, educate and empower those impacted by crime." They serve those who are the direct victim of crimes such as stalking, rape or violence and those effected by the crime like family members or witnesses to the crime.
Spahn does not have a personal connection to wanting to help crime victims. He originally saw volunteering with iCan as a way to help victims and also an opportunity to learn more about the subject. "I get to grow with it too," he says. "It's a totally new world to me." Through the training he learned how to perform peer counseling with victims and it helped him be there for his neighbors and friends who need comfort.
He's also become versed on laws effecting victims of crime. At events such as the National Crime Victims Awareness Week's March on the Capitol (shown in photographs) Spahn supports the legislative angle of the organization and helps raise awareness to the cause.
Spahn has brought his own expertise to The iCan Foundation through the creation of the spreadsheets. "I can give them some tools to help run the business so they can devote their time to what the business is supposed to do. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping them," he says.
iCan Foundation volunteer coordinator, Margie Cueva, says that before the spreadsheets were created they had to keep track of information on about 300 victims served per year and about 12,000 pieces of literature distributed each year by hand. The spreadsheets allow them to easily do things such as calculate their outreach efforts accurately and log the demographics of those served. "The funders are impressed with the data collection and productivity. We provide more numbers than they ask for," Cueva says. "It helps show funders what we're doing and what we're capable of."
"Bill is so dedicated," Cueva says. "I can always count on hom to be there."
To learn more about The iCan Foundation visit www.ican-foundation.org.
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