CODA volunteer receives statewide award

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault has named CODA volunteer and Beaufort resident Yajaira Benet-Smith South Carolina’s “Volunteer of the Year” for her outstanding service and dedication to CODA and survivors of domestic violence.

CODA volunteer of the year.
CODA volunteer of the year.

Not only is Yajaira an advocate for survivors when she is volunteering with CODA, but also when she is in the community and working as the PASOs Coordinator for Beaufort and Jasper counties. CODA’s executive director Kristin Dubrowski sees Yajaira as an ambassador between CODA and Spanish speaking communities — doing outreach, informing survivors of CODA’s services and helping to interpret in order for survivors to access services.

“Yajaira is a dedicated and strong advocate who works to ensure that Spanish-speaking survivors have a voice and have options,” says Dubrowski.

Yajaira frequently volunteers with CODA’s children’s counselor Paula Hetzel to conduct intakes with Spanish speaking parents so their children can receive counseling. Paula says, “Yajaira always has a smile and takes pride in the assistance she provides.  She has been such a blessing to CODA — she is an amazing woman who assists whenever needed.”

When Yajaira was told about her nomination and award, she said, “I think this is the second time I won something.  And in this case, it means a lot to me, as I feel to be the lucky one for being in an area where collaboration is so important. I am very fortunate to be able to add my little grain.  Thanks to everyone for the nomination and the award — I love it!”

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