Nature and Purpose
Samaritans, Inc. is a non-profit, non-religiously affiliated, suicide prevention center. Since 1974 we have worked to reduce the incidence of suicide and to alleviate feelings of isolation in the greater Boston and metro-west areas through our 24-hour telephone befriending service. This line is staffed entirely by volunteers trained to offer non-judgmental listening and support to lonely, depressed, and suicidal individuals.
Befrienders do not give advice or try to solve the problems of callers. Rather, by offering unqualified respect and caring, befrienders seek to understand callers' feelings and, in doing so, briefly share a burden that has become to heavy. Befrienders do not aim to fix, but rather offer respite. Volunteers must be able to listen well and to reserve judgment. They must also be willing to hear about suicide and death, and able to remain calm during crises. We are looking for 20 PULSE students.
As Samaritans befrienders, PULSE students will provide non-judgmental listening and support to those calling the 24-hour hotline. Students will have the opportunity to become engaged with other projects related to our services. Samaritans has a very active and involved Outreach and Education Program. We go to other non-profits, schools, jails and prisons, mental health facilities, and after-school programs to educate the Greater Boston Community on depression and suicide prevention. PULSE students will be able to partake in these workshops and trainings, if their schedule permits. As the PULSE students become more and more a part of the agency, there will be many opportunities for them to serve as mentors, assistant trainers, and advocates for newer volunteers coming in the door.
To become a Samaritan volunteer, students must be interviewed, accepted, and prepared to begin a training class at the end of September. An interview does not guarantee selection. Upon completion of the training class, PULSE students will be asked to spend eight hours per week at the placement, usually two 4-hour shifts. We also require that each student work one 8-hour overnight shift per month.
The PULSE students will have a great deal of interaction with supervisors. All of the training, the scheduling, and the ongoing direction will be provided by the Program Services Team. This team is overseen by the Director of Program Services and includes staff, homeleaders, and trainers. We feel it is essential that students have support and guidance throughout the year and that the interaction they have with their supervisors is critical. The work at Samaritans is extremely rewarding, yet it can also be emotional and difficult; thus, it is of utmost importance that a solid foundation is created for the students.
Each PULSE student will be assigned a primary supervisor and is responsible for keeping in touch with his or her designed supervisor throughout the Samaritans experience. PULSE students will interact with many different staff members and mentors at the center in addition to participating in agency in-services and community education. This is highly encouraged at Samaritans in order to ensure constant communication, involvement and interaction for the PULSE students. Additionally, PULSE students are required to attend 2 group meetings (1 each semester). It is important to know that communication is key at Samaritans.
Manager, Boston Helpline Operations
41 West Street, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02111