We’re excited to honor Sara as September’s Volunteer of the Month! Read more about her experience with NRS in this interview.
Fun Fact (something people may not know already about you):
I have been to Disneyland 15 times in 17 years. It is on my bucket list to go to every Disney park around the world.
How did you first become involved with NRS?
My high school counseling department sent out a document with pages of work, research, and volunteer opportunities. I have been a part of service work since middle school when I tutored Hebrew to younger students who had fallen behind in their classes. Watching the success of the students was so rewarding, so I was looking for a volunteer opportunity for an organization where I could continue to make a meaningful impact. The National Runaway Safeline stood out to me as a significant way to help others.
What keeps you coming back?
Although it was never my objective, it brings me great satisfaction to help callers through their moment of crisis. Supportive supervisors also make a potentially very stressful environment friendly.
What have you learned while volunteering?
In the past, my volunteer work consisted of mostly tutoring where I could watch the growth of the students as time went on. Being able to see this was satisfying but since working at NRS, I learned that I do not have to personally see the impact of service work to understand it: when I book a bus ticket for a teen to get back to their family or talk someone through a difficult situation, seeing them face-to-face becomes insignificant.
Give us a story from your experience that stuck with you:
During one of my supervisions, I got a call from a homeless, throwaway teenager in Los Angeles who needed a safe place to sleep. After reaching out to several organizations and with the guidance of my supervisor, we were able to find a youth homeless shelter for the caller. We held a conference call and the organization explained that the youth qualified for the program and that they would send over transportation to the youth’s location. It was so inspiring as a new volunteer to be successful in helping someone in a difficult situation to find a safe place.
Open Mic Moment (this is your chance to say to all volunteers whatever you would like):
I’m so proud to be a part of such a wonderful team of volunteers at NRS. Thank you to everyone for giving time out of the busy week to help others.
If you are in the Chicago area and interested in becoming a crisis line volunteer at NRS, please reach out to Jamin Draves, Volunteer Coordinator, at JDraves@1800RUNAWAY.org or 773-289-1726 with any questions.