Rachel, the recipient of a Random Acts sponsorship, became a certified crisis responder with IMAlive in December of 2019. Rachel prides herself on having “always been a good listener” and someone willing to lend an ear “to help people when I can.” Realizing there are times when everyone needs someone to talk to for support, she embarked on the training journey to develop her talents of active listening to “try and help more people who need someone to listen to them.” Supervisors praise Rachel’s tenacity and willingness to go above and beyond in the toughest of chats; even if it means speaking with a person in crisis and at high risk for suicide for several hours, she takes whatever time is necessary to listen to and understand their situation, to assist them in exploring their resources, and to brainstorm potential solutions to enable the chatter to form, and feel comfortable, empowered, and hopeful about a concrete safety plan of their own making. A joy on shift, always present with a positive attitude and energy, Rachel’s gentle and thoughtful manner lets her meet people in crisis where they are in that moment and connect with them and help them feel cared for. We are delighted to call Rachel a volunteer of the month for October!
Melissa’s tenure serving chatters in crisis here at IMAlive began back in July of 2019. By nature, Melissa’s love of meeting new people and knack to “do more listening that I do talking,” coalesce to make her a complimentary fit in the role of crisis responder. In fact, one supervisor quite aptly described this innate active listening ability as being so second nature to Melissa, that she must have honed her gift of empathy far before she began volunteering with us as Alex. Persistent and not easily dissuaded by complex crises, Melissa has a good instinct for what a person experiencing crisis is feeling and for figuring out by listening for the deeper personal meaning of what is being said, what a chatter needs to feel not only heard, but hopeful they can safely get through their crisis. Calm, patient, and open-minded, she takes the time to build a connection with every chatter she speaks to, enabling her and the person in crisis to work together toward a safe solution. For the wonderful skills she brings to the IMAlive team, and those she continues to build with us, it’s no wonder at all that this October we honor Melissa as a volunteer of the month!