A traffic ticket that led to community service helped NorthBay Medical Center Financial Counselor Vicquita Velazquez discover her passion for helping others. In 2004, a Sacramento judge sentenced Vicquita to the community service project of her choice. She chose Safequest Solano in Fairfield, a women’s shelter that aids victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. When her hours were completed, the program’s manager asked if she would take a class to become a certified sexual assault victim advocate.
She earned certification, completed a year-long internship and embraced her new role. Two years later, she was named Safequest Solano’s volunteer of the year – and became a sought-after advocate for women in Contra Costa and Marin counties.
Vicquita stands strong for sexual assault victims. As a first responder, she’s the person paged when a woman comes to a hospital emergency department. After a full workweek as a financial counselor at NorthBay Medical Center, she will often be on-call from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.
“I’m the person called when a sexual assault victim arrives at the hospital,” she explains. “I’m there to support the victim during a very vulnerable time. I brief the person about what will happen, and assist them through the entire hospital visit, which includes forensic and medical exams. By making sure the person’s voice is heard and they understand their options, I help them to regain control of their life right away.”
“Helping others has given me new strength,” Vicquita says. “Whether I’m working as a financial counselor or a victim’s advocate, it’s all about service and having compassion for people.”