Volunteers of the Month *December* – Dan and K.T.

Dan from California, USA

The Roman philosopher Cicero coined a well-known phrase in Latin, “Non nobis solum,” translated as, “Not for ourselves alone,” to describe an intrinsic call (and perhaps even a duty) to do good in the wider world outside the self as an essential aspect to achieving a balanced life. When Dan joined the IMAlive team in July of 2021, he embarked on his tenure as a crisis responder by building upon this same inner sense Cicero so aptly summed up an age ago. He came to us wanting to develop himself further by developing the tools – that is, seeking to mold an extension of his empathy into something capable of making an impactful difference beyond simple personal compassion felt at perceiving the struggle and suffering of others – to give back to others in a useful way. Passing the milestone of 100 hours given to the cause of crisis intervention and suicide prevention as 2021 came to a close, Dan’s supervisors say you would have thought he’d been doing this work for years, showing great dedication to and such a natural affinity for the role. While our supervisors love to see him on their shift roster and praise his presence of calm and resolve to do his best no matter the situation, it is his skills and ability to build unique connections with the people in crisis he chats with that brought him to mind as a nominee for Volunteer of the Month. He is often able – through understanding, assessment, and one-on-one problem solving – to lift people stuck and struggling with their situation out of the mire of crisis and get them heading in, or looking hopefully toward, a new direction with solutions planted in their minds, and ultimately their safety from suicide secured while those seeds of solutions have time to come to fruition. Dan, your care, desire to learn, and dedication to giving back to the community of the world by helping people in crisis make you a standout; while we aren’t of an era where we can erect a marble monument on the Roman scale to celebrate your renown, we humbly honor you as a Volunteer of the Month for December!

K.T. from Ontario, Canada

When Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Everybody can be great — because anybody can serve,” he wasn’t speaking of greatness as it relates to a basic recognition of achievement; rather he defined greatness as service to others; in that service, he went on to say one needed only “a heart full of grace” as a qualification. Seeking a meaningful way to give back to the community – the very definition of greatness in which MLK, Jr. eloquently spoke – KT completed IMAlive’s coincidentally dubbed H.E.A.R.T training program and became a certified crisis responder in December of 2020. One year later, and with 200 hours shared with those in crisis searching for support to stay safe, it’s clear KT’s self-described assets of compassion and empathy have been invaluable to IMAlive and the community we collectively serve. Supervisors describe KT as dependable, capable, and good-spirited, coming to each shift and approaching each chat with alacrity, and further expanding on that willingness to ask for help when needed and communicate any challenges in order to prioritize finding the best support for a person in crisis – the epitome of a team player! Skilled in active listening and possessing the innate ability to form strong reflections in response to a person’s situation to facilitate understanding and foster the rapport on which to find safety from suicide and discuss solutions, KT is prepared to dive deep into every person’s crisis and life, make quick adjustments to flow when needed, and always ready to explore what needs exploring no matter how dark or hopeless seeming the circumstances for that person we connect to if shining a little light there means keeping the chat and chatter’s focus centered on what may help. KT, we pay tribute to your greatness of service by recognizing you as a Volunteer of the Month for December – shift after shift you don the mantle of Alex and seek to anonymously offer strangers the very heart full of grace that forms the foundations of community!

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