Each day in the greater Boston and MetroWest areas, more than 350 people, finding themselves struggling with loneliness, depression, or suicidal feelings, turn to Samaritans in search of the respectful, non-judgmental support that has been the cornerstone of our services since 1974. Some have been dealt life circumstances they feel unable to face alone. Others may be considering suicide and seek support to get through a frightening and painful time. Whatever the challenge or struggle, those who are suicidal or despairing can find something at Samaritans that we all need from time to time: a caring, empathetic ear, eager to listen and, if only for a short time, share a load that has become too heavy.
Callers to Samaritans find a unique, human kind of help. Samaritans' befrienders offer all callers unqualified respect and support. Listening carefully and patiently, they seek to understand a caller's feelings and, in so doing, provide respite from what may at times be overwhelming. Some callers may have nobody with whom they can share their pain; others' problems seem too big or confusing to share with friends or family. For these people, Samaritans exists.
Befriending... The Volunteer Spirit
Both The Samaritans' 24-hour befriending service and Samariteens (our teen befriending line, staffed by teen volunteers from 3 - 9 p.m. daily) are staffed entirely by trained volunteers.
Who are Samaritans' telephone befriending volunteers?
Samaritans' volunteers come from all walks of life: they are working people, students, professionals; they are teens (15 years and older) and they are retirees; they come from a variety of cultural, educational, and religious backgrounds.
While they do not necessarily share any particular prior experience or training, Samaritans share a deep respect for human life and a desire to reach out to those in pain. Samaritans build on these in an extensive training course, learning the skills necessary in work as a telephone befriender. Most befrienders find that their work quickly becomes an important part of their life. Few things can be as rewarding as knowing that you were there when someone needed you most.
Right now, someone needs a caring ear.
The more trained volunteer befrienders we have, the more calls we can take. It's as simple as that.
What do Samaritans say about their work?
"The most important thing we do is listen. Many of our callers have no one to talk to and no one who really listens to what they say. I know that us listening to them is greatly appreciated; that makes it rewarding."
"Volunteering with The Samaritans helps you to be a better listener, which can only help in interpersonal relations outside of Samaritans."
Would You Make a Good Befriender?
Come to a Volunteer Orientation at Samaritans, where you'll learn more about our programs, philosophies and practices. You'll also have the opportunity to fill out a volunteer application and meet with a Samaritans' staff person or volunteer.
Call us today at 617 536 2460 or follow the links at left to submit your information online and you will receive an email with more information about next steps, including a list of upcoming Volunteer Orientation dates.
Want to Help in Some Other Way?
Befriending isn't for everyone, but there are lots of other ways to help Samaritans accomplish our mission. We are always looking for committed volunteers to help out on events, assist with administrative tasks, or contribute in other ways. Coming to a Volunteer Orientation is still a great way to get to know us, and for us to get to know you. Call us today at 617 536 2460 or follow the links above and we'll get you started. And thanks!