Barbara Woodmansee is a volunteer who found her passion and a career helping survivors of domestic violence.
Woodmansee said she plans to return to volunteerism after she retires June 7 as community education director of Access-York/Victim Assistance Center of YWCA York.
"I look forward to having a life at a slower pace, more time to do exercising, traveling, more time with family," said Woodmansee of West Manchester Township. "I want to volunteer. I don't know where yet, but I want to do something with advocacy, to keep helping the community."
In 1981, Woodmansee became a volunteer at Access-York, which assists survivors of domestic violence and their children and families. She also joined the organization's board, serving there until 1982. She then worked for two years at the Hanover YWCA Safe Home program.
Woodmansee returned to Access-York, beginning her employment there as a part-time volunteer coordinator. The community education role was added to her work a year later.
In 1986, community education director became her full-time position. She served as Access-York's interim director in 2007.
Woodmansee is a past president and member of the Atkins House board, past member of the Women's Network of York and of Healthy York County Coalition Steering Committee. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic
Violence and the American Association of University of Women.
A big impact: Jane Tucker, who helped start Access-York in 1980, said Woodmansee deserves recognition and applause for her service to York County.
"Because of her, we have a much better understanding of domestic violence and how it affects women and men and children," said Tucker, 79, of York Township. "She taught us about having empathy for the victims. She increased the awareness of domestic violence so much in our community, and I think that's irreplaceable."
Woodmansee currently serves as chairwoman of the York County Task Force on Domestic Violation, of which Tucker is a member. Woodmansee said she also will retire from that post June 7.
The task force is made up of churches and police, legal, health, mental health and social agencies working together to develop a unified response to domestic violence.
"York County is very fortunate to have so many organizations and leaders committed to ending domestic violence and sexual violence," Woodmansee said. "They're so willing to come to the table and discuss these issues."
Awareness: Woodmansee also said she is proud of Access-York's role in helping make health-related changes to assist local residents in abusive relationships.
"When a doctor asks 'Are you safe at home,' it's our organization that has done this," she said. "We worked with the health community to increase awareness and opportunities for people to get help."
Over the years, Access-York also has increased its educational efforts to prevent domestic and sexual violence, said Woodmansee, who is married to Lee Woodmansee and has two children and four grandchildren.
The organization has a thriving educational program designed to teach students about domestic violence and healthy relationships, she said.
While much of her domestic violence work was done in York County, Woodmansee said she is thankful for how she got her start with a volunteer opportunity at a YWCA in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County.
Before moving to York in 1981, Woodmansee was a telephone hotline volunteer at the Wilkes-Barre YWCA, assisting women who called in for help on various issues, including domestic violence.
During that time, Woodmansee discovered her passion for helping communities overcome the issue.
"I wanted to give back, to provide a service in the community, to be a part of something that helped make changes to save somebody's life," she said. "I feel proud to be a part of social change."
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at email@example.com.