Mount Richon Resident On Call for International Volunteer Week
17 MAY 2019
Rosanna Leo from Mount Richon will be spending four hours during National Volunteer Week (May 20-26) doing what she has done every other week for the past seven years – answering calls to Lifeline WA’s crisis call centre.
Ms Leo said the she was inspired to volunteer after meeting a Lifeline crisis supporter at a workshop.
“Their experience and enthusiasm for the value of this work so touched me that I decided shortly afterwards to apply to be considered for the training and was accepted,” she said.
“Since then my utter respect for each person who calls our service and also for each crisis supporter who takes that call grows daily.”
Ms Leo is one of 196 Lifeline WA call centre volunteers who give their time to support West Australians in crisis.
Before they answer their first call, each one of Lifeline WA’s volunteers must go through a thorough recruitment process to ensure they have the attributes required to be a crisis supporter.
Those that are successful then undergo more than 170 hours of specialised training in their first year to become an accredited crisis supporter.
The training features in-person and online learning, supervised practical opportunities, a probationary period and assessments, and ongoing professional development is mandatory once accredited.
Ms Leo said the work was challenging, but the sense of pride that came from giving back to her community was enough to keep her going.
“To be a Crisis Supporter is not about being perfect, it's about being human and having a heart and to listen and to care,” she said.
“They call this voluntary work but really it doesn’t feel like it – I receive so much more than I give.”
Lifeline WA CEO Lorna MacGregor said volunteers were the lifeblood of the organisation and it wouldn’t be able to operate without them.
“Being there for West Australians in crisis is a serious responsibility and Lifeline WA volunteers are rigorously trained to prepare for the task,” she said.
“Not everyone can be a volunteer so National Volunteer Week is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and thank these people for their dedication and commitment.”
Ms MacGregor said Lifeline WA had an ambitious plan to increase the number of volunteers by 175 over the next financial year, so that more calls could be answered and more lives could be saved.
The next Crisis Support Workforce Information Session will run in July 2019
Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14.