More than one year ago, I set my sights on becoming a Trevor Project volunteer.
In February of 2022, I blogged about my college days as a crisis line volunteer and how much I would love to serve in that role again.
It took a couple of months after that for me to be accepted into the world-class Trevor Project volunteer training program.
Then, I went through several months of intensive training and role-plays before I graduated and became an active volunteer.
Now, I’m proud to say that all that hard work and training has paid off. I’ve been an active Trevor Project volunteer for six months.
I love my weekly Trevor Project shifts and all that I’ve learned along the way! Here’s a look at what I’ve learned:
- Self-care is especially critical for carers. Everyone at Trevor Project is encouraged to actively participate in self-care before, during and after our shifts. This can be as simple as eating well and drinking water, but can also include things like meditating, doing mindfulness or grounding exercises, and listening to uplifting music.
- We all have the answers to most of our problems within ourselves. One of my favorite things about volunteering for the Trevor Project is the fact that our role is not necessarily to solve anyone’s problems. We listen, validate and provide empathy as our contacts figure out the solutions they are looking for. It’s a truly wonderful process.
- LGBTQ+ youth are utterly amazing, brave and beautiful. I’ve met so many incredible souls and had the privilege of hearing their stories and giving them the empathy and validation they so deserve. I get chills thinking of the joy we’re able to share – and the lives we can save! – simply by being there for these amazing young people.
- There is real, true magic in empathy, validation and a non-judgmental listening ear. I always knew that talking through problems is helpful, but it wasn’t until my Trevor Project experience that I came to appreciate the honest-to-goodness, real-life magic happening anytime two souls connect in this way.
- There is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing from LGBTQ+ youth whose parents don’t accept them for who they are. No one should experience pain, fear or rejection simply for being who they were born to be. It’s hard to believe how many parents choose religion over their own children. I hope and pray that these parents will someday see the light and beg their kids’ forgiveness.
- Working with LGBTQ+ youth is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. No paying job has ever given me this much inspiration, empowerment, human connection or pure soul joy. The staff and volunteers at Trevor Project are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. As for the LGBTQ+ youth we serve, well they are straight-up angels. I adore them all.
The nerves and trepidation of my early months as a Trevor Project volunteer have been replaced by joy and excitement. It is such an honor to fulfill this important role and continue to grow and learn with every weekly shift. I also love the continuing education opportunities provided by Trevor Project so that volunteers can keep on learning, growing and improving.
What’s been your most rewarding volunteer experience? I’d love to hear your voluntales in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram!