Turkeys, Cranberries and Love

Ah yes we have made it to the year ending holiday season when all things seem to focus on joy, shopping and food. Oh yeah! Also the ubiquitous holiday music which begs the question – What is your favorite holiday song? For me my fave changed as I grew up. There was Rudolph, Frosty and The Chipmunks with their eponymous songs which served me well in my youth.

But my current fave? There is Brian Setzer’s version of the Nutcracker Suite. But – drum Untitled1roll please! My favorite is The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping! What is not to like about a funky, driving bass line, A&P turkeys, forgotten cranberries and a message of love not quite lost and eventually found! In a way it speaks of the journey we make with those in crisis through the intervention model – A connection that marches through understanding (clarification and assessment)Untitled2 that unhappy things can lead to plans, resolutions and happy endings.

Songs aside this is also a time of reflection. By looking through the lens of what we have done we then look forward to what we hope to do. With that in mind just how did all of you IMAlive volunteers do last year?

Growth is an important premise for IMAlive. Those who come to us grow in their ability to confront those things that cause them pain. Through their training and supervision IMAlive volunteers grow in their ability to competently and confidently help those who come to IMAlive in crisis. IMAlive itself grows thanks to the efforts of its partners at randomacts.org, management team, supervisors, trainers and, most importantly, the dedication of its volunteers. Because of this teamwork 2017 was a year of amazing growth for IMAlive as the following numbers show.

  • 2017 saw an increase in the number of volunteers staffing shifts over 2016. At the close of 2017 IMAlive has 220 active volunteers – a 117% increase over 2016.
  • Perhaps more importantly those volunteers provided more than 27,000 hours crisis intervention. That is an increase of 116% over 2016.
  • These increases meant that 19,688 people in crisis were able to chat with a certified crisis responder – an increase of 103% over 2016.
  • The issues raised by the 19,688 people who came to IMAlive the issues raised by them are as follows:
    • Abuse/Victimization – 6%
    • Concrete Needs – 4%
    • Education/School – 6%
    • Family Issues – 12%
    • Interpersonal Relationships – 14%
    • Mental Health – 46%
    • Suicide – 43%
    • Addiction, Child Abuse, Health/Medical, Pregnancy, and Sexuality were each 2% or less.
  • Of those who responded to our post chat survey, 77% found their interactions with IMAlive volunteers to be helpful.
  • While I tend to shy away from using the word it seems the IMAlive Team had an “Awesome!” year. A “HEART-y” thank-you to each of you from the IMAlive Leadership Team.

    So that is the look back. What about the look forward? How do we build on awesome? Maybe a paraphrase of the old Smith-Barney commercial is in order – “IMAlive makes Awesome the old-fashioned way – They earn it!”

    To earn Awesome in 2018 here is an IMAlive to do list:

    • In partnership with Random Acts continue the growth of IMAlive’s volunteer base.
    • Identify and train additional shift and training supervisors with the goal of providing consistent 24/7 service and volunteer support.
    • Add several training modules to HEART with the goal of enhancing the skill set of certified volunteers.
    • Enhance IMAlive’s online presence by providing more educational materials for online consumption regarding suicide and mental health.

So that wraps up 2017. Here’s hoping each of you enjoyed your favorite holiday song and found some holiday magic that allowed you to enjoy the awesome work you did during the year – sometimes the best gift we receive is the appreciation we give ourselves. Also on behalf of those you helped during the year – Thank you!

Embrace Your Superpower Cover 17.12.2017


As for 2018 – Let’s Embrace Your Inner Superpower and do some super stuff for ourselves and those who come to us!

Read more:  bit.ly/EYS2018


John Plonski

Director of IMAlive Network
Developer – Helping Empathically As Responders Training (HEART)

One thought on “Turkeys, Cranberries and Love

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