The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is a not-for-profit volunteer organization whose mission is to keep America's runaway, homeless and at-risk youth safe and off the streets.
Established in 1971, The National Runaway Safeline operates 24/7 nationwide crisis hotline and chat services for runaway youth, teens in crisis, and concerned friends and family members. NRS services include: trauma sensitive solution focused crisis intervention, digital services (crisis chat, crisis emails), message relay between runaways and their parent/legal guardian, referrals and conference calls to community-based resources such as counseling, support groups, alternative housing, and health care, a Home Free program in partnership with Greyhound Buslines, Inc. to help runaway and homeless youth return home to their families, education and outreach services, free NRS promotional materials for distribution at community events, school assemblies, and health fairs.
I volunteered as a liner for a couple of years with the National Runaway Safeline and was so sad to have to stop recently due to an overloaded schedule. Once a week, liners take calls from youth in crisis situations and provide them with a non-judgmental listening ear and access to resources and information that the youth may desperately need. You get trained really well. You make friends with other passionate people. And there are few volunteer opportunities out there where you feel your impact more. Plus, the NRS staff are awesome-- so supportive, so appreciative, and so fun! I recommend this place to literally every person I meet in Chicago who has a heart for young people. You won't regret it!!!
This is a great organization and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a volunteer job that makes you feel like a hero every day, coming to the rescue of kids and families in crisis who have no other place to turn to.
It's enjoyable because of the fun atmosphere, the wide variety of calls, and the wide assortment of people you will meet here. Volunteers include high school students, older retirees and everyone in between, from all backgrounds.
You don't need any special skills or background for this work, just the willingness to learn and the ability to listen carefully and with empathy. You will be expected to work well on a team and to accept supervision and oversight.
The staff is great and they respect volunteers as peers. There are plenty of supervisors on duty to help you and to step in if you need assistance with a tough call. You won't often need help, though, because the training is very thorough. You learn a lot before you are allowed to take calls.