Darius P. is The Volunteer of the Month for January 2023
It’s reasonable for anyone experiencing a crisis to be emotional, especially when you’re young and struggling with a mental health issue or unable to find resources to help support your needs. The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) takes pride in being available 24/7 to help young people and concerned adults work through these frustrations, whether by providing referrals to life-saving resources or being a supportive listener.
We asked the January 2023 Volunteer of the Month, Darius P., why he is passionate about his role with NRS.
In a sentiment shared by previous Volunteers of the Month, Darius remains committed to volunteering with NRS because the experience is extremely rewarding. He shared, “I can feel it and I can see it when somebody is thanking me or when someone feels heard. Sometimes conversations end abruptly, and you don’t know how it will go, but it feels good to know that you were there to listen.”
Darius recognizes that being a supportive listener is a key component to building trust. He, like all NRS staff and volunteers is, “Here to Listen. Here to Help.”
In some cases, talking to one of our trained and thoughtful team members can make all the difference when a young person is considering self-harm. Darius shared, “I find surprising and alarming the number of youth who are not only contemplating running away, but are harming themselves, contemplating suicide or have harmed themselves in the past.”
Darius understands how difficult it can be to experience homelessness at a young age, as he spent time being homeless as a teenager. “It’s a tough environment out there in the streets, depending on where you are,” Darius shared while reflecting on experiences with homelessness. Because of these personal experiences, he knows there are too many people who need help and could benefit from available resources. Volunteering is his opportunity to guide young people through the various barriers that he remembers causing frustration and, sometimes, hopelessness.
In addition to his commitment to NRS, Darius also volunteers at a local donation center and supports a free meal program. To unwind, he surrounds himself in nature. Whether on a long hike or paddle boarding with his girlfriend, Darius finds spending time in nature to be the ultimate reset. He works full-time as an IT Consultant with a background in sales; through his career, he has learned about leadership.
“One of the biggest culprits is that youth lack role models in leadership. If it can’t be their parents [or guardian], they need to find those people outside of their family. Finding a way to steer them towards role models would be a great resource.”
We’re thankful to Darius for letting NRS be one of the many ways he makes change. If you can relate to Darius and would like to talk about the ways you can get involved in our mission, consider becoming a crisis services volunteer. To learn about the the other ways you can get involved at NRS, visit NationalRunawaySafeline.org/get-involved.