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.
Jackie’s journey with NRS began during the spring of 2021, amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the uncertainties of the times, she eagerly embraced the opportunity to make a difference from the comfort of her own home. Her compassionate listening and unwavering support have provided a lifeline to countless young people in crisis.
One memorable evening on the 4th of July in 2020, Jackie found herself in a situation where she encountered two teenagers in need of assistance. It was this encounter that served as a catalyst for her journey with NRS, igniting a passion for supporting vulnerable youth and providing them with the resources and guidance they need to navigate life’s challenges. Jackie then participated in a mental health counseling program. While navigating this new path, she realized that it wasn’t the best fit, leading her to explore alternative avenues for making a positive impact.
As a Crisis Services Volunteer, Jackie has encountered a wide range of experiences that have left a lasting impression on her. She recalls a particular chat where she spent a great deal of time reassuring a young person that they weren’t to blame for a traumatic experience, and deserved support and love. It was a poignant moment for Jackie, highlighting the importance of spreading positivity and being a good listener, rather than feeling the need to give advice.
Reflecting on her experiences, Jackie notes that the nature of the chats has shifted post-quarantine. While some aspects remain the same, such as receiving messages from homeschooling or remote-learning students, there’s also been an increase in discussions around issues like gender identity, abuse, and neglect. Despite the challenges, Jackie remains committed to providing discreet and non-judgmental support to every individual who reaches out to NRS.
Before the pandemic, Jackie was a skilled hairdresser, bringing joy and confidence to her clients with her artistic flair. While navigating the uncertainties of lockdown, Jackie discovered a new passion for art and began creating stunning floral greeting cards. You can explore her beautiful designs and support her work by visiting her website at floweringfieldsdesigns.com.
In addition to artistic pursuits, Jackie is an avid cyclist, holding a personal record of biking over 1,000 miles in a single summer. Her love for fitness is matched only by her passion for cooking, where she enjoys experimenting with new and elaborate recipes. And when the mood strikes, you might find her belting out her favorite tune at karaoke – “Me and Bobby McGee” is her go-to crowd-pleaser.
In addition to all of her hobbies, Jackie remains deeply committed to giving back to her community. As a volunteer with NRS, she brings not only her professional expertise but also her warmth, empathy, and genuine desire to make a difference. Her dedication to supporting vulnerable youth is nothing short of inspiring, and we are honored to celebrate her as our Volunteer of the Month. If you want to be more like Jackie, you can learn more about volunteer opportunities with NRS at 1800RUNAWAY.org/volunteer.