We can’t thank our first responders enough. Between fires, floods and mudslides, they often stand between life and death for victims of disasters. It takes a special kind of person to do such work. I’m certain I don’t have what it takes. But what about helping to save a life before disaster strikes?
That’s what the volunteers at the New Hope Crisis Center have been doing for the last 50 years. The hotline, founded by Rev. Robert Schuller, has been operating nonstop since its inception in September 1968. It was established after a member of the congregation of what was then called the Garden Grove Community Church committed suicide. It is said she made a call for help that went unanswered. Today the center is a program of Catholic Charities of Orange County and is under the direction of Dr. Louise Dunn.
Volunteer peer counselors answer phones and support callers by listening, praying with them and offering them resources. Counselors have been the lifeline for callers–in some cases, literally. More recently an online option was added and counselors communicate with visitors to its chat room from their home computers.
Volunteers need not have previous experience and are first trained in active listening, relationship skills, basic counseling skills, grief counseling, crisis intervention and goal setting among other subjects.
If you feel called to this life-saving work, consider attending the next New Hope Crisis Center orientation on Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. in the Tower of Hope at Christ Cathedral. Following that, there is a four-week training session required (on Saturdays, beginning Feb. 3, from 9 to 12:30). For more information: [email protected]