Tell us a fun fact about yourself. When I was younger (between four and seven-years-old), I was a compulsive liar! Never about anything too serious or damaging, but I would just make up stories about myself or my identity to friends or strangers that I guess I wanted to be true(?)
One time in pre-school, we had to share about our Thanksgiving traditions, and my family didn’t really have any, so I said that every year my mom would dress up as a turkey–like put on this ridiculous, puffy turkey costume. Word of that got passed onto my mom (she worked at the pre-school) and she debunked that pretty quickly.
How did you first get involved with NRS? I wanted to get involved with a local non-profit and specifically was interested in crisis work. When I came across NRS’ website, I was impressed by how accessible their services were to youth and their families. Anyone can call or access them online anytime, anywhere, opening the door to a lot of people who might not otherwise reach out for help. It seemed like they had done the research to find the best methods of meeting the needs of their target population, and I think it’s been really effective.
Why do you choose to keep coming back to work as a youth volunteer?
Amidst everything going on in the country and world, it’s nice to come to a room full of people every week who are making a positive impact and are able to have fun while doing it. 🙂
What have you gained from your experience? I have learned just how important it is to work to help a caller draw from their own experiences and strengths to find the best solution for their situation. As liners, we have access to resources and education that can certainly aid in that process, but ultimately our job is to help callers gain back some sense of control and do what’s best for them.
Can you tell us about a call that stuck with you? I was talking on the phone to a teenage girl who was preparing to run away from home. Through our conversation, she shared that she was struggling with pretty severe anxiety which was the main cause of her wanting to run away (not being able to cope, feeling like a burden on her family, having intermittent thoughts of suicide, etc).
Being able to make that connection allowed her to focus on addressing ways of better managing her anxiety, such as seeking out counseling, talking to her family, going on medication again, and reaching out for immediate help when she was having suicidal thoughts. By the end of the call, she felt a lot calmer after talking everything through; she realized that she didn’t really want to run away, and she had a plan for how she was going to focus on addressing her mental health issues.
Any last thoughts? I have been a volunteer for a little over a year now, and I feel like I’m constantly learning new things from my supervisors, other liners, and the callers. It’s challenging, but I never feel unsupported or isolated, and I think NRS does a great job of ensuring that volunteers have what they need to do the best job they can. So thanks!