Beginning on Saturday in Tullahoma, you can learn how to be that someone who is there when needed the most.
Volunteer training classes for Contact Life Line will be held Saturday at First Baptist Church in Tullahoma, 108 Grundy St., from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Participants will be given 24 hours of classroom instruction on how to deal with the various calls received, as well as eight hours of supervised apprenticeship on the help line.
According to Rhonda Saylor, program services coordinator for Contact Life Line, it isn't just calls from desperate people they receive, but sometimes everyday questions.
The phone line has also been seeing more traffic due to the economy and lack of jobs, which Saylor says "has certainly prompted an increase in calls."
"We get a lot of calls for things like basic needs, we get calls from stranded motorists," Saylor said. "All the way up to suicide calls, to the people who need referral type services, people saying, 'Who can I contact in my community for this.'"
They even receive calls from people wanting help with their income taxes, and they are then referred to the correct people.
Contact Life Line's new board was elected in December, Saylor said, and also serves as the Family Counseling Center in Manchester. Ron Fuller is the new president while David Pate is executive director.
They cover Coffee, Franklin, Bedford and Moore Counties, and are the only help line that is available in these communities. And even though Contact Life Line has been operating since 1981, some people still do not know that it exists.
It's not just emergency calls either, Saylor explained, saying that sometimes, folks just need someone to talk to, "and we want to be that ear for them."
The training is open to the public and lunch will also be provided. Saylor says this is a part of a series of training sessions and the 24 hours and eight hours of apprenticeship is required before a volunteer is allowed to monitor the line without direct supervision.
Volunteers will be given the history of the organization and a segment on self-awareness - "getting to know yourself," Saylor said, will be given.
A segment on listening and communication skills will follow, training with the organization's code of ethics, as well as policies and procedures at the Center.
One part of the classes will deal with grief and loss because many of those calling are not just dealing with a crisis, but an ongoing situation such as depression.
"Sometimes, you just need someone to talk to," Saylor said.
Another segment of the class deals with crisis intervention, suicide and how to handle those type of calls. Other mental illnesses are covered too, and Saylor said they receive a lot of calls from people that have similar challenges.
Dealing with frequent and abusive callers is another section that will be taught, with volunteers are shown how to handle these individuals appropriately. Other topics will be on addiction, substance abuse, and related issues, as well as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.
Volunteers will be given instructions on how to get people in contact with the help they need from other community resources, Saylor explained.
You can reserve your seat for the classes by calling 455-7150, 967-7133, 684-7133 or 759-7133. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.