Reachout - Information for Volunteer Applicants
Schedule for the upcoming Reachout Training Class:
Spring 2020 Training Class
Application deadline: Tuesday, February 25th, 5:00 p.m.
Training Weekend dates:
- Friday, February 28th (5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.)
- Saturday, February 29th (9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.)
- Sunday, March 1st (12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Please plan to attend all sessions.
A word from our training team:
Bob, Karen, and Hollis
It's our pleasure to welcome you into the Reachout community. We're in charge of training here at Reachout, so we'll make sure that we teach you everything you'll need to know about being a crisis hotline volunteer. Although our staff is small, we've been recognized nationally and internationally as experts in our field. We look forward to sharing our knowledge with you!
Reachout volunteers are amazing, diverse, wonderful people. We come from many different backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience to the mission of helping people. Although many of our volunteers are college students, we have many community members as well; people of all ages are welcome here. We work hard, and we love what we do. Reachout is a tightly-knit community of people who care passionately about making a difference in St. Lawrence County.
You may be wondering: can you do this? Absolutely! If you respect and care about other people, we can teach you everything else. We understand that many of our volunteers are learning about crisis work for the first time, so we give everyone a very comprehensive training program that ensures our volunteers are among the best-trained crisis specialists in the world. We expect you to work hard, and we expect you to shine!
We're grateful for your interest in what we do. We give our time, day in and day out, because we believe that nobody should have to suffer in silence. We hope you'll join us in our mission: where there is despair, let us sow hope.
Yours in service,
Karen (Executive Director), Bob (Hotline Coordinator), and Hollis (Hotline Director emeritus)
Reachout is a 24-hour, 7-day a week, crisis intervention and information
and referral hotline. We handle over 28,000 calls a year, and help people
experiencing many problems, such as loneliness, substance abuse, mental illness,
poverty, rape, domestic violence, suicide, and family
problems. Our volunteers receive over 75 hours of training in
crisis intervention, listening skills, problem solving, and information and
referral prior to answering phones alone.
To be a volunteer:
Reachout is a confidential service dedicated to treating all callers,
regardless of their situation, as human beings worthy of dignity and
respect. We need caring, patient, intelligent people who can accept others
without judgment. We need good listeners who can stay calm in a crisis.
We need people who are stable in their own lives, ready to take on
an emotional and intellectual challenge. This doesn't mean we want all
volunteers to be the same, or to hold exactly the same beliefs and opinions;
we value the fact that our volunteers have varied backgrounds, religions, lifestyles,
As a Reachout volunteer:
People volunteer for lots of reasons. Being able to help others draws
many people to this work. You can make a difference in the community,
learn creative problem solving, enhance your communication
abilities, and develop crisis intervention skills. Many of our volunteers want to pursue counseling-related careers, but all of our volunteers find this a valuable
experience in working with people, handling difficult situations, and
thinking on their feet. You'll meet interesting, like-minded people, and many
lifelong friendships began at Reachout.
We are very selective about who we choose for training. Hotline service is emotionally and intellectually demanding work, and not right for everyone. If you apply and you're not chosen, it probably means this work isn't right for you at this time. We invite trainees based on their applications, an in-person interview, and professional or academic references.
Training begins with a three-day Training Weekend that covers our call management process, active listening, suicide intervention, and additional skills hotline workers need. If you are accepted for further training after the Training Weekend, we'll assign you to a training class that meets one evening a week for a month and a half. Training includes the weekly class, homework, and opportunities for practicing and using all the skills you've been learning.
Thank you for applying! Please feel free to call or stop by any time
to talk with us. If you have any questions about Reachout, the application
process, or training, please ask!
Basic Requirements for Reachout Applicants:
- At least 18 years old.
- Volunteer for a length of time equivalent to at least two college
semesters. It takes approximately one semester to train each volunteer, and then volunteers need to work at least one more semester.
- If you have been in treatment for serious mental illness, depression,
substance abuse, alcoholism, or similar problems, you must have been out of
the inpatient program and outpatient follow-up program for at least one year
before applying. If you have overcome serious personal problems, you could
be a strong asset to Reachout. However, you must be at a stable point in
your life and be able to handle the emotional and intellectual challenge of
volunteering at Reachout. If you are recently out of treatment, you need your
time and energy to readjust to the world and be fairly certain your problem
- If you are a student, you must be in good academic standing with your
college. Reachout training is very demanding, and
students on academic probation cannot afford to take so much time away from
- If you do not live within walking distance of Reachout (in Potsdam),
you must have access to reliable transportation to get you to your shifts.
Acceptable references come from adults who know you well in a professional or academic context (examples: employer, co-worker, professor or teachers, pastor). Please do not include friends, relatives,
significant others, or current Reachout volunteers or staff, as references. We're looking for people whose main relationship to you is either professional or academic, not personal.
The Applicant Review Committee meets to review the applications and decide whom to accept for Training
Once you've read all the information, you can move on to the application form. Thanks!
Click here to fill out the application form