Volunteers of the Month – April *Amanda & Sharon*

As spring has sprung and the days grow brighter, the sunlight shines longer, and summer approaches here in the US, we celebrate two volunteers whose time serving people in crisis at IMAlive began in August of 2021. They, too, have been helping to increase that light of hope with each and every passing day.

Amanda joined us desiring an “opportunity to support those considering suicide” by “listening to them without judgment” and through crisis intervention training, learning how to assist them with a safe plan and resources to keep fighting. She nurtured (and nurtures)  a “hope that I will have a direct positive impact on the lives of those I encounter throughout this experience – from people that call-in, to my peers in the program.” A true team player when it comes to engaging with IMAlive team members and those in crisis alike to work toward the best outcomes in a given situation, supervisors who work with her on shift describe her as perceptive and thoughtful, and someone who does a beautiful job of making a genuine human connection (which can be a challenge via text/screen) with the chatters who visit. Welcoming and warm no matter what a person in crisis faces or what their background is, Amanda provides wonderful insights and support – diligent in her use of learned and growing skills – as she guides them through the crisis intervention process. She roots her approach in compassion and empathy while never losing sight of what a person needs help with – whether that’s immediate safety from suicide or other harm or a place to organize their thoughts and perspective toward the goal of getting through whatever crisis is at hand. Ever inquisitive, she seeks to do more and do better every time she logs on for a shift. Amanda, we are so very grateful for your outstanding contributions to our team, and honor you as a Volunteer of the Month!

The IMAlive team has members from all over the world and from all walks of life – the same is true for those in crisis who come to talk with us. Sharon’s self-disclosed “diverse cultural background” meant from the start she was naturally poised to “learn how to engage in” and have “conversations in a way where people can feel safe and comfortable sharing their stories.” Since completing training and being certified, each shift she facilitates that sharing of stories by engaging with people with unique experiences facing varied sources of struggle and crisis with varied access to support and resources and helping them find steps to safely keep writing their story one day at a time. Supervisors say Sharon always brings a cheerful attitude to the table. Keen to learn and improve, she accepts feedback gracefully, taking in and implementing any suggestions offered with an enthusiasm and delight that make her a joy to guide and support. They also praise a consistent and reliable skill set – saying Sharon is someone who can work independently and be relied on to ask for help when uncertain – a clear communication style, and above all highlight her ability to make a welcoming space for people in crisis to tell their story and, if not find the words to write their next chapter, to turn the page to see the possibilities of what comes next. Sharon, sincere congratulations on being a Volunteer of the Month!

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