Helpline volunteers come to Samaritans from all backgrounds and experiences. We recently celebrated our youngest volunteers at our Teen Volunteer Parent Night, where four of our young volunteers shared the impact that their experience at Samaritans has had on their lives.
Some our teen volunteers found Samaritans through our Community Education and Outreach workshops. One volunteer noted, “My love for Samaritans started when they did a presentation at my school. I remember thinking how wonderful it must feel to help someone who may need some emotional support in a rough time because not everyone has a proper, stable support system. I remember coming home and telling my parents excitedly that I really wanted to volunteer.”
Others were brought to service through a personal connection to our mission. After losing a friend to suicide, one teen noted, “Knowing I couldn’t change the past, I was spurred to take some form of action to attempt to minimize future tragedies of this kind.”
Regardless of their path to us, many young volunteers faced the same concerns about their age and maturity, but quickly realized their fears were unfounded. One volunteer mentions, “I worried that being so young might make me different and even alienated from the other volunteers. It turns out that I was wrong. Every single person who was at the training class was there because they cared; this was evident from the discussions I’d had with different members of the class, ranging from volunteers barely older than me to ones that could’ve been my parents.”
Additionally, much of their hesitation to become a volunteer centered on the emotional heaviness of the subject matter. A volunteer who began as a teen and is now an adult volunteer remarked, “Signing up as a volunteer for Samaritans was immensely intimidating. Once I reached fifteen, the minimum age, I found many excuses to push back my participation: I was too busy, I wasn’t ready, I was already involved in the community. The truth was that I was scared, and I had to repeatedly remind myself that my discomfort and frustration were exactly why I was tackling this. I built up my courage incrementally, and in time, I learned that despite all my doubts, I was in the right place.”
She continued, elaborating on the value of her volunteer experience, “Through calls, I have seen situations worse than I could have ever imagined, but I have also seen how strong and resilient the human spirit is. Some calls have shaken me profoundly, but some calls have illuminated my heart with hope and faith. I feel so much more confident in my ability to be a positive presence in other people’s lives, and have simultaneously learned so much about how to best care for myself.”
All of our volunteers each take something different from their experience in the Crisis Center and we are incredibly proud of the impact they make on individual lives each day. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer, visit https://samaritanshope.org/volunteering/.
Names omitted to protect the identities of our volunteers.