|Contact:||Arlene Klemow||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|908/301-1899||November 24, 2008|
CONTACT We Care Telephone Hotline Named
“Best Statewide Volunteer Organization”
Westfield — CONTACT We Care, the 24-hour caring and crisis hotline in New Jersey, was recognized by The Governor’s Office of Volunteerism as the “Best Statewide Volunteer Organization” at a special ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on November 14. Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells officiated at the event, which recognized eleven different categories of volunteerism in New Jersey, and celebrated the work of the Union County non-profit that offers the gift of listening to callers throughout the state who are lonely, depressed, stressed or suicidal.
Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells (center)
presents the award for “Best Statewide
Volunteer Organization” to CONTACT We Care’s
President Amy Green and Executive Director
David Owens, both of Westfield.
“Volunteers are our true unsung heroes and leaders,” said Ms. Wells before an audience of approximately 100. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to volunteer.”
CONTACT We Care volunteers respond to more than 12,000 calls per year on a wide variety of issues including abuse, addiction, anxiety, depression, economic and family problems, loneliness, physical illness, relationship problems, sexual orientation, and suicidal thoughts. The highly trained volunteers offer a compassionate, listening ear to anyone who calls.
Part of a nationwide network of crisis hotlines affiliated with CONTACT USA and internationally with Lifeline International, CONTACT We Care is the primary responder in New Jersey to calls made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline numbers, 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE. The organization is dedicated to preventing suicide and making a positive difference in people’s lives.
“CONTACT’s free and confidential service is critical for underserved and vulnerable residents of New Jersey who have nowhere else to turn,” said David Owens, executive director. “With intensive training and supervision, the men and women who volunteer for CONTACT also provide an important 24-hour supplementary service for mentally ill individuals who are already in treatment.”
The Governor’s Office of Volunteerism recognized that, over the course of CONTACT We Care’s 33-year history, the organization has developed a high quality 50-hour volunteer training program, which is continually enhanced.
“CONTACT’s comprehensive training program has garnered praise from participating volunteers and mental health experts,” said Owens. “It has even inspired some volunteers to change careers and become professionals in the field.”
CONTACT We Care has responded to the ongoing challenge of recruiting and retaining enough volunteers to staff the 24-hour service by holding at least two training sessions a year and incorporating the use of trained volunteers to serve as training facilitators, assistants and mentors.
The next volunteer training class will begin February 23 in Westfield. For more information or to register, call 908/301-1899 or visit www.contactwecare.org.
Proudly displaying CONTACT We Care’s award for “Best Statewide Volunteer Organization” are (from left to right) CONTACT We Care volunteers Gene Bloomwell of South Plainfield, Bill Peterson of Summit, Joanne Bloomwell of South Plainfield, Training Director Susan Fasano of Westfield, Board Member Melanie Lester of Bedminster, Laurie Groves of Far Hills, Executive Director David Owens of Westfield, Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Levine of Fanwood, Maureen Moynihan of Edison, Joyce Cuomo of Westfield (back row); Joanne Zeliff of South Plainfield, and Board Members Sharon Stockwell and Amy Green of Westfield (front row).
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