National Runaway Safeline

We are so excited to bring back our Volunteer of the Month series for May 2021 with an incredibly dedicated volunteer, Carlyn. Born and raised in Franklin, NC, and currently residing in Dumas, TX, Carlyn is the first ever Volunteer of the Month from outside of Illinois! 

We sat down with Carlyn to do a brief Q&A:

NRS: What made you decide to volunteer with NRS?

Carlyn: I was specifically drawn to the mission and goals of NRS in helping runaways. It was also an opportunity for an internship for my work as a licensed professional counselor associate (LPCA). What we do on the lines overlapped a lot with the program. COVID was making it really hard to find an opportunity so I’m grateful to have found NRS!

NRS: What keeps you coming back to volunteer, week after week?

Carlyn: The time and energy that goes into everything across the organization. You feel like you’re being trusted and you’re all going on a limb to train and give volunteers the confidence to work on their own. It felt like NRS was really trusting.

NRS: Tell us something you’ve learned from your experiences volunteering with us?

Carlyn: Where to start! Every shift I’ve learned something. One thing I learned was the power of a thorough summary. I’ve understood the concept, of course, but in a chat context, it’s pretty interesting how often I can get into the next step with the youth in crisis by summarizing and putting everything together that we’ve discussed so far. 

It seems like you’re communicating really basic things, but if you summarize what you’ve covered already, it tells them that you’re there and paying attention the best you can. It tells them we’re doing our best to help them. They’re in a vulnerable position reaching out for help. If you show them you respect them, they will trust you.

Honestly, I thought I’d be using my counseling skills in chats but it’s turned out to be the obvious. I’m taking a lot of what I learned here back to counseling with me.

NRS: Give us a fun fact about yourself that you don’t think someone could guess just by looking at you.

Carlyn: I have 4 children that are 5 and under – 5yo, 3yo, 1yo and one born just last month!

NRS: What would you say to someone who was thinking of volunteering with NRS?

Carlyn: I would say that I was the most anxious between training and my supervised shifts, but I didn’t realize how much support there would be. If you have anxiety about doing this right, don’t worry! You’re never going to be in a situation where you’re just stranded on your own. You’ll have help.

My biggest learning curve is when I did a listen in with one of the Crisis Services Supervisors. It really just put all the pieces together for me.

Thank you so much Carlyn, for your time and dedication to the young people and families that we serve! Since moving to fully remote services, our volunteers have been an incredible source of support for the Crisis Services Center and we are incredibly grateful.

If you are interested in volunteering, check out our current opportunities by clicking here. You too could help make a difference in a young person’s life, when they need it most.

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