Samantha is the Volunteer of the Month for August 2021!
Samantha joined NRS when she was only 16 years old! Since then, she’s grown as both a person and volunteer. She’s home in Chicago for the summer but she attends Washington University in St. Louis. As of August 1st she has a total of 191.5 hours on the lines!
1: What made you decide to volunteer with NRS?
When I was in High School I was looking for some volunteer opportunities. Our school counselor gave us a long list of places we could look into and NRS was one of the options. I check it out and I was amazed I could be 16 and volunteer there on my own.
Beyond that, I loved how NRS centers youth empowerment. They’re really serious about it too, it’s in the training and it’s shown by how NRS empowered me to join and volunteer. We show youth who contact NRS that they’re not alone and that there’s so many options for them besides what they initially think. I love how NRS centers youth and takes them seriously.
2: What keeps you coming back to volunteer week after week?
I feel like I’m really making an impact. You can feel the gratitude, the relief and hope sometimes. It’s something that keeps me going.
Also, especially with the new remote option, since I go to college in St. Louis I was able to keep volunteering remotely. I was really sad to think that I might not get to volunteer with NRS anymore because I was moving out of state for college. When you told me about the option to volunteer remotely I was really happy to be able to stay on.
3: Tell us something you’ve learned from your experiences volunteering with us?
I learned how to be a better conversationalist. I don’t steer away from tough topics when someone brings them up. I’ve had people say “wow, I never thought I’d talk to someone about this” to me before. A little while back I had a friend struggling with depression. I was so happy that I could really talk to them. That I could show them what kinds of resources that were available. I don’t think I would have been able to help a friend like that if I hadn’t been a volunteer with NRS. I was able to help her ways she didn’t think were possible.
4: Give us a Fun Fact about yourself that you don’t think someone would be able to guess just by meeting you.
I love photography! I think I have a pretty good eye for it too. I do photoshoots with myself and my friends. When the crisis center was open I would take photos on my way in and back, I really liked doing that.
5: What would you say to someone who was thinking of volunteering with NRS?
They definitely should! I know the training can seem very long, but it is so worth it in the end. And then after that, two hours a week isn’t a lot! Especially since it’s so rewarding to come back to each week. I felt a lot of pressure at first about saying the right thing or giving out the right information, but the community is so supportive and lifts you up when you’re unsure. Both the supervisors and volunteers. It is like a family. They’re all so understanding about mental health too and respect your space and give you a break if you need. We’re all doing the same work together. It’s a great community.
Thank you so much Samantha, for your time and dedication to the young people and families that we serve! Our volunteers are an incredible source of support for the young people who reach out to us every day.
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.