When Lauren Shaivitz said yes to a friend’s request to volunteer with a rape crisis hotline when she was in college, she didn’t know how profoundly it would affect her life.
“My first semester at Hamilton College in upstate New York, I found out about this rape crisis hotline through the YWCA,” she recalled. “So, I went and participated in the 80-hour training and throughout college, once a week on Sunday nights, I would carry a pager for the hotline and I would respond to calls from people who had been sexually assaulted. I would either meet them at the hospital, or go to court with them or give whatever support I was able to give at that time in my life. And it became a passion — working with victims of trauma.”
Last month, Shaivitz became executive director at CHANA, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore that provides crisis intervention, education and consultation for victims of abuse and advocates for community awareness, safety and healing.
A Baltimore native, Shaivitz was bat mitzvahed at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. She grew up in Owings Mills, attending Fort Garrison Elementary School as well as Pikesville Middle and High schools. After earning a master’s in social work in 1997 and her law degree in 1998, she began working as an attorney for House of Ruth. She worked as a pro bono domestic violence attorney, also at Sinai Hospital’s family violence program and the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.
Shaivitz has been at CHANA for six years as director of programs and in October, moved up to interim executive director.
“One of the things that is so special about working at CHANA is that we really take care of each other here,” Shaivitz said. “We take care of each other so we can take care of the community.”
“Lauren brings impeccable professional credentials and compassion for clients,” CHANA advisory board chair Joy Katzenberg said in a statement. “She has earned the trust and respect of our community.”
For more information on CHANA programs, visit chanabaltimore.org. For crisis help, call the helpline at 410-234-0023.