After completing a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders, Maria felt volunteering at CONTACT would be a great experience for working with families in crisis. She began in June, 2005 and has been a dedicated and consistent volunteer since that time; say those who have worked with her.
“Maria is a perfect role model for the call center as she fulfills her shifts twice a month. She has recently taken on the responsibility of being a mentor to help our trainees in their internships,” says Thomas Hutter, director of Volunteer Services.
“Volunteering at CONTACT makes me grateful for the life that I have. I get a perspective that my problems aren’t so bad and it also helps me to be a better listener,” Maria says, “It also helps me in dealing with my own teen-aged kids at home.”
In a recent 911 transfer to CONTACT, Maria was told to take over on a suicide call until the police arrived. Maria talked to the caller and used the model to listen to the caller’s story. The caller had taken an overdose of pills to commit suicide, but had changed her mind afterwards and called 911. Maria had no idea the 911 operator was on the line after the call was transferred to her. Maria was able to keep her talking and helped her to maintain consciousness throughout the call, even though she was getting groggy and her speech was getting slurred. Once the police arrived, they instructed Maria that she could end the call, and she was then she was told by the 911 operator that she handled the call very well. Knowing she can make an impact in a life or death situation is extremely rewarding to Maria.