Fun Fact (something people may not know already about you):
I love teaching myself crafts, especially textile arts. I taught myself how to crochet and cross-stitch. Recently, I’ve been teaching myself to weave! I made a loom using scrap wood and dowel rods. I’ve been making a lot of wall hangings for friends and am currently working on a rug.
How did you first become involved with NRS?
Two years ago, I was feeling pretty down about the political state of our country so I was looking for a way to help my community. I volunteered at the 2017 Women’s March and on a couple of one-off fundraising events, but I was looking for something more ongoing. I stumbled across the National Runaway Safeline on Volunteer Match, came to an orientation, and really admired NRS’s mission.
What keeps you coming back?
So many things keep me coming back to NRS every week! Most obviously, the opportunity to help people. Most of the time I finish a call, I know that I’ve been able to actually make a difference in someone’s life, even on a small level. And that feeling is priceless. Another reason I keep coming is the people at NRS! The Crisis Services Supervisors, my fellow volunteers, and the other NRS staff are all fantastic, warm, and good people. I love being around them.
What have you learned from your experiences here?
My experience with NRS has helped me so much in my personal and professional lives. From my time on the lines, I’ve learned that most people just want to feel listened to and heard. It’s wild how sometimes during conflict, it’s so easy to forget the person on the other side is a person just like you!. So it’s helped me manage conflict much more successfully in my life.
Give us a story from your experience that stuck with you:
I had a Home Free (my very first!) with a youth who was confused and scared and just wanted to go home. I talked him through the process and got his mom on the phone and helped them work through their issues. They both wanted to make it work so badly and the love between them was obvious. It was such a pleasure to help them. As we were finishing the conference call, his mom called NRS “a blessing.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s been so uplifting to be able to help people in some of their darkest moments.
Open Mic Moment (this is your chance to say to all volunteers whatever you would like):
We all have phone calls that stick with us in a negative way. Whether it is helping to file an abuse report or someone with absolutely no resources in their area, those phone calls stay with you. But it helps to focus on the people that you can help! By helping even one person, you’re positively impacting the world.
If you are in the Chicago area and interested in becoming a youth crisis services volunteer at NRS, sign up for an upcoming Volunteer Orientation. Please e-mail Jamin Draves, Volunteer Coordinator, at JDraves@1800RUNAWAY.org with any questions.