April 2022 Volunteer of the Month - National Runaway Safeline

National Runaway Safeline

Nissa P. is the Volunteer of the Month for April 2022!

Nissa has been part of our NRS family since she joined training back in May of 2019! At the beginning of April, she’s clocked about 247 total service hours with NRS since she became a full-fledged volunteer. Nissa has stacked up about 230 crisis reports. She’s been an incredible member of our NRS volunteer team. Please join us in honoring her for Volunteer of the Month in April of 2022!

We sat down and asked her a few questions:

What made you decide to volunteer with NRS?

Nissa: I had gone to the Chicago Volunteer Expo at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. I remember going there and being really interested in NRS. What drew me to you was the amount of work that we do to train and prepare. It’s a lot, but it struck me as something really different from other orgs. You’re really investing in people and you’re not just throwing them out there.

Also, I just so happen to also work in Non-profit, but in an admin capacity. I really just wanted to be involved on the front lines and see what that was like.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer week after week?

Nissa: I really enjoy it! I think it, for me, is a great way to get out of my own head as well. Volunteering with NRS puts some perspective on things. It shows me that there are other things going on other than my own personal life. During the pandemic especially, and even still, to be like, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to hear what’s going on in other people’s lives and try to be there for them.”

All the supervisors are really nice and helpful too. The other volunteers too. Everyone just wants everyone to do the best that they can. The back and forth for that is just really great. I really enjoy how the conversation in the group chat can be just about anything in particular, like last week we were talking about the range of all the ridiculous streaming services. I came into it late like how did we even get here? It’s just nice to have people able to keep things so light when we deal with stuff that’s so hard.

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

Nissa: I would say I definitely learned patience. And I’ve learned perspective.

You know, when you’re talking to someone sometimes it takes a long time for them to respond. You have to keep talking to someone to really get their perspective, to get how they’re seeing the situation. It’s not giving your opinion, it’s taking the time to listen to someone and get their perspective about what’s going on and help them sort through that. Help someone without bias. I’ve learned the importance of listening to others and not instantly reacting to it.

It’s made me think of things differently in my everyday life. Instead of telling someone what they should do. People know what they want to do, or rather, they might not know but sometimes they need to get there themselves. You just have to ask the questions to get them there.

Give us a Fun Fact about yourself that you don’t think someone would be able to guess just by meeting you.

Nissa: I was actually chased by monkeys in Panama! A pack of Capuchin monkeys! I was on a study aboard research trip to Barro Colorado Island in Panama, studying howler monkeys. Instead, we came into capuchin monkey territory and they chased us out into the jungle. We got out of their territory so they stopped chasing, but it was terrifying. They’re very smart and they’re very mean!

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

Nissa: It’s definitely worth it. I don’t think you can find anything else like it.

Once you finish the training you feel so accomplished. I was like “I did it!”, I really felt like I did something amazing. Every week you’re talking to different people about different things going on in their lives. There’s not many orgs where you’re going to have this kind of experience and you’re not going to find something this fulfilling

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