The National Runaway Safeline is thrilled to announce Jackie Barron as the January 2024 volunteer of the month. Jackie’s path to volunteering with NRS was paved with empathy and a desire to make a positive impact. Growing up in a challenging family environment, Jackie often found herself in the “fixer” role (having a keen sense of responsibility, often prioritizing the needs of other before her own), even at a young age. This understanding of adversity and resilience led her to seek out opportunities to give back, ultimately leading her to NRS.
Kira Reed is the Volunteer of the Month for February 2022!
Kira was part of our very first fully remote training class back in November 2020. Since she officially became a volunteer in December 2020, she’s consistently occupied a Wednesday evening spot. That’s over a year volunteering on the same night with very few absences. Amazing! Her supervisors rave about her willingness to step up for a challenge and her personable nature. We’re excited to honor her for her (over) 160 hours of service to youth in crisis!
NRS: What made you decide to volunteer with NRS?
Kira: I have always been interested in working with youth in general. I was also looking for something that had a deeper impact than other kinds of opportunities. Sometimes people can feel like they’re alone, and I think a chance to be the person that listens and assures someone that they’re not alone, someone that wants to help them get into a safe place, that’s what was really appealing to me.
NRS: What keeps you coming back to volunteer week after week?
Kira: The contacts where I get to hear the impact I’m having! It doesn’t happen all the time. A lot of time chats might not be as rewarding as you’d imagine, but once in a while the chat surveys and comments before the chat is over are wonderful. Someone once wrote “this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me”. Those small little moments keep bringing me back every week. It is infrequent, but it makes it worth it and that much more meaningful when you do get them.
NRS: Tell us something you’ve learned from your experiences volunteering with us?
Kira: I think I would say patience. Youth might not be willing to say things or hesitate to open up at first. Sometimes you can see that the choices they’re making are not the best, but we’re non-directive so I can’t really say “hey, don’t do that”! But, by being patient with them and not getting frustrated, it can usually help you get to a point where you can help them. It’s been a good learning experience.
NRS: Give us a Fun Fact about yourself that you don’t think someone would be able to guess just by meeting you.
Kira: I used to have 5 pet guinea pigs! All at the same time. I started out with 2, one of them turned out to be pregnant and she had babies. I remember begging my parents to keep them and I ended up with 5 of them! This was all the way back in middle school. I had them up until I left for college.
Always been an animal person and I am always calling out dogs I see walking around. (pic provided is her after rescuing a bird that flew into a window).
NRS: What would you say to someone who was thinking of volunteering with NRS?
Kira: The situations that the population we work with face are really difficult. Although it can be tough to hear about it and help them sometimes, it’s so rewarding to see the impact you have on people.
Also, NRS has an amazing community. Everyone is so caring and easy to talk to. If you’re ever struggling with anything you can always ask for help and they will do it. Such a positive community, I’m so happy to be part of it.
Special thanks to Beth I. of Beacon Academy for Editing.
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As we step into a new year, January holds more than the promise of resolutions. It’s a clarion call to confront a pervasive crisis: Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This presidentially designated annual awareness campaign, led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), unites youth-facing service providers and communities through education about human trafficking and the roles we all play in protecting vulnerable youth. The 2024 theme, “Activate Connections to Prevent Human Trafficking,” is a stark reminder: This fight isn’t for the solitary hero. It’s a collective struggle, demanding connections that safeguard and uplift those at risk or already ensnared in human trafficking’s grip.
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It’s not often that a nonprofit organization is lucky enough to have long-term volunteers. Fortunately, the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) has been working with John P., our December 2023 Volunteer of the Month, for more than 12 years! John finds that volunteering provides a “meaningful connection with the human experience.” He recognizes something special in helping those in need and wonders why more people aren’t drawn to the fulfilling world of volunteering.