With a “strong feeling of wanting to contribute to this world,” Denise completed IMAlive crisis responder certification in April of 2020. Focused on a goal to “facilitate peace and well-being” for those experiencing crisis, her tenure of volunteering began during the early critical months of the Covid pandemic when people around the world were struggling – some for the first time – with the realities and repercussions of new and continued lockdowns. Supervisors are quick to laud Denise’s patience and gentle demeanor with those she chats with, offering her chatters the same understanding and opportunity to take their time sharing whatever is on their mind while keeping safety from suicide first and foremost in the discussion. Denise has a keen talent for reflecting what a person in crisis is feeling in a way that is conversational and warm and encourages them to say and share even more by relaying to them in her phrasing that she wants to understand all aspects of their experience. When it comes to developing a safe plan and exploring resources, this rapport seamlessly gets challenging chatters focused on their options and sources of hope. She does a great job of keeping her supervisor informed of where the chat is and where she thinks it may be going, as well as accepting, seeking, and implementing any feedback received along the way. Denise endeavors to improve her skills with every chat, and her assessment of how a chat is going or went are thoughtfully bent toward the task of continually growing those skills. This combination of traits, dedication, and skills make Denise a delight on shift and an asset to our chatters. With a joyful smile we congratulate you as a Volunteer of the Month for February!
July of 2020 saw the start of Kai’s volunteer service with IMAlive; he felt compelled to join the cause of crisis intervention and suicide prevention based on a personal foundational belief “that my greatest asset for becoming an IMAlive volunteer is my open-mind” as well as a knack for “constantly learning how to silence my own biases (even those that I am not aware of), which is particularly important when speaking to people whose beliefs, situations, and backgrounds vastly differ.” This core belief in open-mindedness and active acceptance of others carried naturally throughout training, certification, and into action as he learned and continues to develop the tools of employing that inherent empathy via active listening and more to aid those experiencing crisis in finding a means to stay safe from suicide while they figure out a path forward to the future. With a style supervisors describe as as easygoing and laid back as the summer season in which he began helping people in crisis, Kai’s demonstrated ability to relate to and connect with chatters of all ages and backgrounds and his readiness to explore and empathize with their their situation or experience in order to help them better combine to offer chatters a solid source of support in their search for understanding and safety. We are so happy to have you on the IMAlive team, Kai, and even gladder to celebrate you as February’s Volunteer of the Month!