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.
How to Build Healthy,
Every relationship is unique and functions in its own way. In healthy relationships, the benefits are strong with all partners experiencing love, joy, connection and satisfaction. There is no imbalance of power, and, if or when a relationship ends, there is no stalking, abuse, or refusal to let the other partner go.
So, what does a healthy relationship look like? Some characteristics may include:
- Communication – Communicating effectively allows you to share your feelings with your partner and build emotional intimacy and trust. This creates open discussions about similarities and differences, along with future goals and desires. Your partner is not a mind reader, so express your thoughts honestly and clearly. When you open the lines of communication, you make the other person feel safe, heard and not judged.
- Listening – Listening attentively to your partner demonstrates you have made them a priority and respect what they are saying. Listening and speaking are both equally important functions of communication. In response to what you hear, ask your partner honest questions and engage to fully understand them.
- Boundaries and Trust – Know what makes your partner comfortable and uncomfortable—physically, emotionally and sexually. Physical intimacy should always be consensual, and actions or conversation topics that are considered off-limits should be avoided. By establishing boundaries, you will both feel empowered, comfortable and safe around each other. Practicing and respecting one another’s boundaries are foundations for building trust.
- Conflict Resolution – When you disagree, focus not on winning the argument, but rather on using the situation to strengthen your relationship. Both partners must be willing to forgive, apologize and ultimately compromise. If not, agree to disagree and move on.
- Give and Take – Relationships are partnerships that require a balance of power. All members of a relationship deserve to be treated equally and should provide a healthy level of support for one another. Give the love you want to receive, and only settle for taking an equal amount of love in return—no less.
- Quality Time Together – Life can be stressful and busy, but it is important to make an effort to also find time for your relationships. Being together in person and doing something new, fun, or exciting helps to build a relationship and leaves both individuals feeling happy and actively engaged.
- Time Apart – While time together is important, it can also be beneficial to spend time apart. By doing so, you have space to develop your individuality and independence, ensuring no one feels stifled. When you are comfortable on your own, you can bring those positive feelings into your relationship. Additionally, individual bonds are just as important to maintain. Remember not to forget about your existing friends and family when you enter into a new relationship.
Relationships require effort and none are perfect, but when they are built on support, love and respect, they are deeply rewarding. Ups and downs are inevitable, and it’s important to learn how to handle them effectively. Strive for a healthy relationship by implementing the tips above. Everyone deserves a healthy, loving relationship.
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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.