Andrea Jacobson is a force. She studies biomedical engineering at IUPUI and is looking forward to her internship at Roche Diagnostics this summer. We know her because she started the Domestic Abuse Prevention student organization – DAPSO. She is also a Cox Scholar and was recognized as Top 10 and Top 100 at IUPUI in 2022 based on academic excellence, campus leadership and community engagement. This year, she also received a Women’s History Month Recognition Award. In 2021, she was honored with an Advocacy Leadership Award, and DAPSO received an Outstanding Community Service and Outreach Student Organization Award. DAPSO members regularly at Coburn Place.
“Andrea Jacobson and DASPO are dedicated,” says Drew LaCroix, Coburn Place volunteer and resource coordinator. “They not only further awareness of domestic violence but also directly assist survivors through apartment setup, donation organization, children’s services program sponsorships and more. They show how compassion can be put into practice with their time, effort, and support.”
Why did you start DASPO and what has the group been doing?
In my past, I had struggled through some hard times, and I felt alone. I found motivation through believing I could find a way to be there for others. In high school, I started volunteering for a year with the YWCA’s children’s program in their family shelter. It quickly became the highlight of my week.
When I started college, I wanted to do something similar. I started DASO officially – just a month before we knew of the pandemic – with the mission to help survivors of domestic abuse through volunteer work and advocacy.
We first worked with 211 Connect to start training DAPSO members on how to answer crisis calls. Due to the COVID restrictions that shortly followed, we switched to only doing some fundraising. Coming out of the pandemic, we have been able to grow and volunteer more. We jumped from seven to about 100 members and now currently work with Coburn Place and Firefly Children and Family Alliance. Members of DAPSO have helped with numerous tasks at both locations, including helping with donation storage rooms, cleaning, apartment setup, etc.
How long have you been working with Coburn Place?
DAPSO has been working with Coburn Place since our organization was founded. There wasn’t much we contributed besides a fundraiser during the pandemic, but since then we have tried to volunteer at least once a month as school schedules allow.
What do you enjoy about supporting Coburn Place?
I enjoy supporting Coburn Place because it is an organization that supports survivors and their families without pressuring religion or identity changes onto them. It can be hard to find organizations that are purely motivated by wanting to support those in our community.
What is your favorite thing you have done here?
While I have enjoyed the apartment setups, I would have to say my favorite event was the STEAM Fair DAPSO helped to co-host. After so many setbacks with the pandemic, it was nice to feel again like I was able to help contribute to something significant that could help survivors have a good time and feel more welcomed during a hard part of their life.
What do you do in your free time?
I tend to keep myself pretty busy with biomedical engineering. School and work aside though, I enjoy listening to jazz music, playing piano and spending time with close friends.
Why do you think it’s important to support survivors of domestic violence?
I think it is easy to take for granted having stability in life. No matter how hard you work, there are still going to be times when you will need a community to fall back on. There is nothing wrong with needing help, but there is always a need for more who are willing to lend a hand.
If you’re interested in volunteering at Coburn Place, click here.