My Ladies Night Out group had a meetup last night. Had a wonderful time (as always!), and the ladies gave me plenty of ideas for various wedding things. Apparently they are already plotting my bachelorette party, LOL!
We kept Jessie last night and she was a bit hurt that she couldn’t go with me. She pouted as I got ready and said “Why do you need other friends anyway?” *shakes head* I explained that even though I love her and her daddy very dearly and as much as I enjoyed hanging out with our (mine and Jim’s) gamer friends, I needed to get out once in a while with other women. And I tell ya, this group has been a God-send! I have enjoyed every outing, the girls in the group are very sweet, and it’s nice just to get out with a great group of ladies and talk about work, kids, men, sex, and just about anything else under the sun.
Which reminds me: The lovely Jocelyn gave us some information on a group that she volunteers with, the Crisis Center here in Birmingham. If any of you are interested in helping out, please feel free to get in touch with her!
There are 5 different organizations within the crisis center: (1) Crisis & Suicide Line (2) Rape Response Line (3) Senior Talk Line (4) Teen Link Line (5) Kids’ Help Line
The crisis and suicide line is the only local resource for individuals or concerned individuals who may be having thoughts of suicide or know someone they are concerned about. It is manned 24 hours a day. There is no caller ID so it’s completely anonymous. If you want the number it is 205-323-7777. We have on average 3-5 calls a month that are considered serious where an individual is threatening suicide. But there are a number of calls each month that are from individuals who need someone to talk to in general. What a great way to save a life!
Senior Talk Line has volunteers and staff that perform 3 different services from 9 am – 9 pm 7 days a week. The reassurance program has a person regularly call a senior 3x a week to just check up on them, talk with them, and just provide a friendly voice to talk to. The telephone counseling offers seniors a place to talk to about different ideas such as death in the family, loneliness, sickness, etc. Presentation services are provided through-out the community to let individuals know of what the program does. Some senior citizens have no one in their lives. They are often abandoned by their family, too far from their loved-ones, or the only surviving member. I hear often of the sad stories of people who really depend on the volunteer’s to ensure that they are safe and healthy and their emotional needs are met.
Teen Link Line is manned from 3 PM-10 PM during the school year and 10AM – 10 PM during the summer, every day of the year. They provide a place for teens to talk to about issues that a teen has (ya’ll remember). They deal with issues such as sex, alcohol, drugs, friendship, sibling strife, parent disagreements, etc. This program is popular as it provides an anonymous way for teens to talk to someone!! There is a lot of push from the program coordinators to get the information across the community to students. [Mostly high school and college aged volunteers]
Kid’s Help Line is manned the same hours as teen link. Kids can call to talk about anything from school work to problems to just figuring out various problems.
Rape Response is the division I volunteer with. It is manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We provide personal services to persons who are victims of sexual assault (including statutory rape). We only provide services to those individuals who are over the age of 14 (younger go to Children’s Hospital but you never have to decide who goes where). The basis premise is that an individual contact the police and files a report. The police contact the center and let the individual who is manning the phone know of the situation. The individual manning the phone then calls the advocate (like myself) who is on call. The advocate will then go to the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) facility. Here is where they will receive an examination (which you will assist) to gather forensic evidence. We take cases all around the surrounding B-ham area including Shelby, Trussville, Bessemer, etc. Your job is before the exam to explain to the victim what the steps are that are going to happen, provide a friendly face to lend moral support, and hand out information to help them with their needs. You may also be requested to visit victims in hospitals, but that’s rarely the case. Hospitals are VERY VERY VERY glad to see you as you can provide the support that a victim needs that the staff is just unable to do.
The training consists of 2 Saturday afternoons (8-5) and I believe 2 or 4 weekday evenings (2 hours). After you complete the training you will shadow another advocate until you are ready to perform a case on your own.
Each volunteer is required to work 2-12 hours shifts (5 am- 5pm) or (5pm- 5 am). There is always a primary and a backup person on duty. You will work a maximum of 2 cases then an alternate will be called if another case occurs. I have received up to two cases in one night and none many nights. I have also been waiting for the nurse examiner while 3 victims walked in at the same time. This program only accepts female volunteers.
All of these programs are very rewarding and will provide you with stories as you provide a service to the community.
Let me know if you have any more questions, when Meg gets back I will ask her when the next class is. I’m going to assume because of the holidays it probably won’t be until next year.
Jocelyn L. Steward