Sunday, February 2, 2014

How Samaritans Helps Teens...

Just under three months until April 21, when I run my heart out lifted by all the support I have received (as well as all the cheering and support given all 36,000 runners from screaming marathon fans as well as much of metro Boston off work and inconvenienced by the marathon route anyway...

What I want everyone I know who knows teenagers to know is that Samaritans is not just for adults. Over this two-year journey to Copley Square, I have talked with many who have used hotline services, volunteered to respond to crisis calls, and lost loved ones to suicide. My takeaway is that being able to talk about the loss, or during the crisis situation, is vitally important to being able to carry on with the work of being human. 

I'll let the Samaritans website tell you about their teen-specific services: 

The Samariteens is the youth peer leadership segment of our Befriending Services. It is dedicated specifically to the prevention of suicide among teens. Begun in 1986, this teen help line provides confidential peer support and understanding to teens who are struggling with feelings of depression, loneliness and stress. From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, this service is staffed by volunteers between the ages of 15 and 18; outside those hours, calls are answered by adult volunteers.

There are a million reasons to feel alone. Samariteens are available to talk about any of them. Callers to the Samariteen helpline do not have to be feeling suicidal, and most callers are not. Each year, more than 15,000 callers receive support, respect, acceptance and tolerance – for whatever reason they call.
IM Hear_ is Samaritans' new instant messaging service for teens, by teens, being piloted at High Schools in the greater Boston and MetroWest area. If you are interested in learning more about this program or having it available in your school, please contact Kelley Cunningham

Also note: teen volunteers answer 54 hours worth of teen helpline calls each week. That's a lot of volunteer hours. I imagine it is an empowering opportunity for kids to learn how much they have to offer, how much of a difference they can make. 

Yesterday, I ran 16 miles in support of these services. Please join me, however you can - I'd love the company especially when the wind chill is below zero, but if you aren't able to run, you can help by spreading the word about Samaritans, or supporting them with a donation. Thank you!

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