Listening to people in crisis

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Serving as a crisis intervention specialist at The Crisis Center of Johnson County has truly been one of most rewarding things I ever decided to do.

The Crisis Center is seeking new volunteers right now to join our team. The 24-Hour Crisis Line and Crisis Chat programs help thousands of people each year who are in crisis situations. Those clients rely on more than 100 weekly volunteers to keep the phone and chat lines open.

I started volunteering at The Crisis Center to compliment to my graduate school studies, but it has turned about to the best volunteer position I’ve ever taken. I went from doing one small, three-hour shift each week to taking on two or more shifts most weeks. Aside from the free snacks that are always available, I leave every night feeling like I made a difference in the lives of the people I speak with on the Crisis Line.

Listening is one of the main reasons I enjoying doing what I do. That’s something we do everyday for our family, friends and co-workers. And we have all been in the position when we just want someone to listen when things just aren’t going right. Crisis Center volunteers undergo intense but rewarding training.

What we do here at The Crisis Center is simple — we listen to people in need.

Another reason I have continued to volunteer at The Crisis Center is that I have lost people to suicide — most recently, a former partner of mine. It hits home for me, personally dealing with their loss along with anxiety and depression as well. I’ve taken my experiences in my own life and am now helping others.

One more reason I love volunteering at The Crisis Center is the resources that I have been connected to. Every single volunteer and staff member is committed to helping all parts of our organization run smoother and better. Whether it’s a help with a call or help with my personal life, the staff and volunteers are always willing to listen and that’s amazing.

The Crisis Center is always in need of more volunteers, volunteers run The Crisis Center, day in and day out. It is just one small three hour shift, but it can make a huge difference for the person on the other end.

To learn more about our programs and to apply online, visit The Crisis Center’s website at http://jccrisiscenter.org/volunteer-now. The deadline to apply for spring training classes is Feb. 17.

• Anthony Sivanthaphanith is a crisis intervention specialist at The Crisis Center of Johnson County.

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