We believe that we offer a volunteer experience that is deeper and more rewarding than many other volunteer experiences. The primary reward comes from interactions with people in crisis or in need, and most of these calls end with positive directions agreed upon between the call worker and the caller. And it’s these positive directions (created from a combination of training and innate compassion for suicide and drug prevention) that create a rewarding experience for the volunteer crisis worker.
But there’s something more about volunteering with us.
In addition to the professional training, supervision towards certification, and professional development that we provide, there’s a sense of community that develops. This sense of community envelopes all of us, and gets its start in the training. Volunteers begin talking to each other. But not in the way that we might be used to seeing people who have just met talk to each other. They talk and listen with genuine concern and compassion – to each other. And it is this sense genuine concern and compassion, I believe, that leads them to having barbecues in each others’ backyards. To having dinner together on a Monday night, on their own time. That leads them to inviting each other to concerts, and ball games.
When I hear them doing this, I smile wide to myself. This is one of my rewards, being the part of something that contributes to the creation of new meaningful relationships – ones where each other’s company is truly appreciated for the gift that it is.
But the challenge? In the middle of summer, our volunteers want to get out and about and enjoy the company of their friends and family (many times out of town). And our lines are sometimes left a little “thinner” than we would like. What’s the solution to this? Well, more volunteers of course! How do we do this? Lots of training. But also, a lot of community building.
And that, is a great reward.
– David C