Meet the National Runaway Safeline’s (NRS) August 2018, volunteer of the month: Jean Morrison! Learn why she chooses to serve youth in crisis at NRS.

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

I started beekeeping this year! I have two hives on my roof! I am very excited about them!

How did you first become involved with NRS?

I worked at the King County Crisis Line in Seattle for four years during grad school. I really missed it when I moved to Chicago and then I ran into the NRS booth at Dyke March and it seemed perfect.

What keeps you coming back?

Making myself available to listen and be open and helpful is a simple easy way to make someones life a little better in a very immediate sense. I work in computational research which sometimes is very slow and sometimes is very removed from any downstream human consequences. If I come to NRS at the end of a long week of trying hard and not making progress then I can know that something I did that week was definitely useful to a human being. Beyond that, I love having a chance to talk to such a wide array of humans. Every call has something unique about it and I love getting the chance to interact with so many different people. Honestly coming to NRS is one of the highlights of my week.

What have you learned from your experiences here?

I am constantly reminded of how many different ways there are to experience different situations and that you can’t ever assume that you know how someone feels about something. Asking almost always reveals nuances you wouldn’t have guessed at and gives the other person a chance to feel heard. Doing this work I think makes me a better friend and better at engaging genuinely with folks outside of NRS.

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

I got a call from a security guard who had run into a stranded youth who needed to get back to her shelter and was having trouble. The security guard was really worried about her and wanted to make sure she got where she was going safely. I talked to him and also to the youth and helped them figure out a plan that would get her to where she needed to be. This was someone who was just going about their day and found themselves in a situation where someone needed help and decided to do something about it. He could have ignored it but he chose to get involved. This story stuck with me because it reminds me that I am surrounded every day by nice people who in the right circumstances will step up and try to help.

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

NRS has the nicest volunteers (and staff!). I love listening to other people take calls and really open themselves up to connect with the person on the other line. So I guess all I would want to say to everyone is that I am so pleased there are so many nice people that I get to volunteer with and that I think you are really making a difference in peoples lives every day.

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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