Interested in helping someone heal from abuse or assault? Want to gain counseling skills?
Help Line Advocates are trained to listen, provide support, and explain options to callers on our 24-hour help line during non-business hours. Advocates may also be required to do follow-up work in the office with clients. For example, writing letters on behalf of the client (with permission) if the person is looking for assistance in communicating to professors.
Please see the volunteer application packet for a complete job description.
We serve approximately 300 people at The Aurora Center and about half contact us through the help line.
All advocates who volunteer on the help line are expected to cover five (5) shifts per month, including one (1) weekend shift. A shift is from 4:30pm on a business day to 8:00am the next business day. During the weekend, shifts begin on a Friday at 4:30pm until 8:00am the following Monday morning. When the office is closed due to official U of M holidays, coverage is needed as well.
Help Line Advocates join the Legal Advocates, Special Projects Volunteers, and Violence Prevention Educators in meeting throughout the semester. Contact Jerie Smith with any questions. Attendance at meetings is a requirement to volunteer.
All meetings are on Sundays and scheduled 1:00 - 4:00pm
Current volunteers can LOGIN HERE to see the schedule. (Or at the upper right tab of the website where it says "Login".)
Volunteers in training will have many opportunities to ask questions pertaining to the position, especially what it will be like to talk with callers on the help line, but provided here is a brief and limited description of what is expected.
Working on the help line involves carrying a pager and a messenger bag with an intervention manual. Advocates are expected to return phone calls on the pager system within 15 minutes. If it is a call where the person in need is going to the emergency room for a sexual assault examination or related medical needs, advocates are expected to be at the emergency room within 30 minutes. Advocates are able to study and do some social activities while on call but are restricted from consuming alcohol or other drugs and are strongly encouraged not to work at their jobs while on call.
Advocates are expected to utilize the extensive training they receive to listen, validate, and explain options in a caring and supportive way to any client. Please refer to the brochure, "Advocates: How They Can Help" to learn more about the position or talk to Jerie Smith.
We still need coverage on the help line during summer and winter breaks. However, if advocates are not available during the summer break, they are still able to maintain involvement and volunteer during the academic year.
Becky Redetzke Field supervises Help Line and Office Advocates in their work with clients, schedules their coverage of the helpline and their office hours. She shares supervision with Jerie Smith, Volunteer Coordinator, who facilitates the monthly meetings and conducts performance reviews.