“I shall pass through this world but once. If there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do, let me do it now…for I shall not pass this way again.”
Becoming a PATH paraprofessional crisis line worker is not a typical volunteer experience but it is rewarding. We teach you a broad range of skills including basic counseling and national, evidence-based suicide assessment protocols. All volunteers go through a highly structured training program that has received national recognition.
- Classroom learning weekly for 8 weeks and generally runs on Thursdays from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
2-1-1 volunteers will come to day time classes once a week for four weeks.
- Hands on learning in the call center for both crisis counselors and 2-1-1 volunteers; weekly three hour shift for 8 weeks with a wide range of shift times available.
- Weekly interactive reading assignments
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What if I get a call I can’t handle?
This is the most common fear among new trainees. While our training program teaches you how to handle crises, it is comforting to know that there is 24/7 professional back-up. You work on the phone lines knowing that there are competent, trained professionals to help you.
Are there any requirements?
You must be 18 years of age or older. Because of the tremendous investment PATH has in the process of training you, we only accept individuals who can commit to volunteering at least 120 hours following the end of of training. This takes approximately 6 months, longer if you are a student who goes home over breaks and summer.
What is the volunteer commitment?
We ask for one 3-hour shift a week and one overnight per month. The overnight runs from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. You select times that fit into your schedule. If you are a single parent, over age 60 or have a disability that would make overnights difficult, talk to the staff about your needs.
I am a college student. Can I get credit for doing this?
Both ISU and IWU may offer credit through professional practicums especially in the fields of psychology and sociology although we have had people from health education and communications also receive course credit. Contact the internship coordinator in the respective areas to find out more. Social work students can use the PATH experience for their required volunteer hours.
Where do we meet for training?
Training is held at the PATH Business Office which is located on city bus lines. Also, car pools for class nights may be arranged the first night of training.
What does PATH look for in a prospective volunteer?
Good listening skills, open-minded attitudes, desire to help others, time for the training process, commitment to the cause.