I do NOT wake up well. If mornings were altogether eliminated, I would be a very happy camper. When I decided to sacrifice my Saturday morning slumber to attend what I assumed would be a grueling volunteer advocate training at loveisrespect, my mood was not soaring high. I was also quite nervous.
Volunteers take actual calls and chat on the loveisrespect Helpline, so I kept on having doubts about being able to say the right things and keep my composure. I mean, what if I blanked and had nothing to say?
To my surprise, my attitude and worries completely changed the minute I walked through the front door. Greeted with warm smiles and a boatload of breakfast goodies, I couldn’t help but feel the positivity of everyone around me. Since then, my time as a volunteer and advocate have been nothing but positive.
If you’re like me, it can be easy to feel scared and uncertain about what it’s like to volunteer and be a part of loveisrespect. Let me walk you through a typical day at loveisrespect for yours truly to give you an idea of what it’s really like.
When I enter the Helpline room, my eyes immediately fix on our large table to the left to scout the free food of the day (my stomach is essentially a bottomless pit, so it usually needs food every 5-10 seconds). Although having free pizza, cookies, or other tasty treats may seem like a small thing, it really shows that the staff and supervisors care about me having a good shift. The room setup is ideal: it’s spacious enough to have a private conversation on the phone line and open so that it’s easy to talk with everyone.
All of the supervisors are young like the advocates, so each shift feels more like hanging out than being in a stuffy workplace. Since each advocate likes to help others and is committed to the work we do, everyone is really friendly and knows how to crack me up in between calls and chats. This helps me unwind from the last call/chat to have plenty of energy to give my best effort on the next one. Every time I finish a call or chat, I take the time to think about the conversation to see what went well and what I can do better the next time. We all do that, so it creates a great atmosphere to ask questions and learn from each other to better approach different situations.
After each call, I get a warm bubbly feeling knowing that I really made a difference in someone’s life. Loveisrespect is committed to transforming the relationships and lives of young people, so I feel tremendous pride at the end of each shift knowing that I contributed to this positive change. How many people can honestly say they feel that way after they have volunteered somewhere else?
Hopefully my experience debunks any ideas you have about loveisrespect being a placed filled with crusty adults that don’t like talking to callers. The people here are young, enthusiastic, friendly, and an extension of all the positive messages and support on our website. Not only does the staff at the Helpline make it an awesome place to be, volunteers play an integral part by taking actual calls and chats. From my perspective, I could not ask for more.
Interested in volunteering at loveisrespect? If you live in the Austin, TX area, send an email to [email protected] and visit our volunteer page to get information on our upcoming volunteer trainings. If you don’t live in the area, you can always check out our community awareness section to get ideas on how you can make a difference in your area. So go ahead, get your volunteer on!