National Runaway Safeline

Reid KlootwykFun Fact (something about you that you would want others to know that they may not know already):

My dad is a published author! He wrote about how reading helped him cope with violence in the home as a child.

How did you first become involved with NRS?

I had always felt a certain kinship with teens. While feeling particularly hollow one day last fall, I stumbled upon volunteer opportunities with NRS. The call center was nearby my home, so I figured it could be a good fit for my free time. I think I was right!

What keeps you coming back?

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to call out for help. Our presence is necessary and our callers deserve it.

What have you learned from your experiences here?

I’ve learned that even the most challenging situations can be aided through communication. Speaking to a thoughtful listener can be truly freeing, even when the words don’t come out readily.

Give us a story from your experience that stuck with you:

In January I spoke to a young man about the same age as I. He had coped with years of violence that led him to leave home immediately after turning at 18. After spending several weeks crashing with friends, he found himself homeless. After rapport was built and trust established, he talked about some harrowing experiences at home- neglect and emotional abuse included. During the call, I helped him with managing his most critical need – finding shelter. Later on, he let me know he had recently landed a manufacturing job. I could sense a smile on his face through his tenor and recognized he deserved a moment to celebrate himself. We truly connected after I congratulated him on gaining employment – though it wasn’t easy for him to say, he let me know he couldn’t remember the last time he felt proud.

Picture1Open Mic Moment (this is your chance to say to all volunteers whatever you would like):

Thank you for doing your part in making a confusing and challenging world a little bit more personal. Our callers deserve you—give yourself a pat on the back once in a while!

If you are in the Chicago area and interested in becoming a youth crisis services volunteer at NRS, email Jamin Draves at JDraves@1800RUNAWAY.org.

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