12/06/06 — Shelter asking for volunteers for hotline

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Shelter asking for volunteers for hotline

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 6, 2006 1:45 PM

The Lighthouse of Wayne County is closed, but the board of directors is still working to make sure local victims of domestic violence have an avenue to find help.

Currently, those people in need of the Lighthouse's service are being directed to a 24-hour hotline run by Eastpointe Mental Health where they are assisted by the county Department of Social Services and referred to one of 16 nearby shelters.

But the Lighthouse board, looking for a more long-term solution, is asking for volunteers to help man a new hotline.

This hotline, which would not go into effect until volunteers can be trained, would replace the one running at Eastpointe.

"We're looking for volunteers," board member Cindy Sanford said. "We'll need at least seven. Seven would be a very good start. We need to get a volunteer base."

Once up and running, she continued, the goal is for the volunteer hotline to become the Lighthouse's permanent communication link to domestic violence victims.

"We want to be self-sufficient," Mrs. Sanford said. "Even when we're up and running, we want to work with volunteers rather than paid employees.

"We're just trying to operate a little more efficiently. Other counties are doing this, and we'd like to do the same thing."

Training for the volunteers will be done by staff from a Lenoir County shelter. They will be trained in active listening, as well as where and how to refer clients. The training should take about four hours. No date or time has been set.

"This is easy volunteer work. If you can take a call at home, you can direct a person in need. It's pretty basic," Mrs. Sanford said. "People can do it from home because we'll be working with the phone company to have it set to transfer (from The Lighthouse) to whoever's on call."

For now, though, people in need of the domestic violence shelter services should call either The Lighthouse at 736-1313 or the Eastpointe hotline directly at 1-800-913-6109.

People interested in volunteering should call Mrs. Sanford at 738-1272 or Shela Bradley at 221-1871.