While they are endearingly termed Samaritans, volunteers at SOS are so
much more than just charitable or helpful persons.
Some are lawyers, others engineers;
there are teachers, and there are also IT experts. They may be 27 or they may
These are people like you and me. They have jobs, families,
people and things which they care about in their own lives. Yet, they make the
effort to be there for people they may never meet and choose to give their
presence, time, and hearts to these individuals on a regular and consistent
Just like how no two calls we receive over the hotline are the same, each volunteer at SOS brings with them their own stories, experiences and personality.
Think you have what it takes to be a crisis hotline
volunteer? Find out here!
The commitment at SOS is unique from many other volunteering activities. The hotline is manned from the operations room in the SOS office and volunteers come in for at least one 4-hour duty a week, and one overnight duty a month. Senior volunteers also have the opportunity to take on additional roles, such as training facilitators and mentors to junior volunteers.
also special in that you have the freedom to pick when you want to volunteer.” –
M: homemaker, SOS volunteer of 12 years.
The Volunteering Work
Callers to the hotline can be
anybody. Some may be
elderly suffering isolation, some may be youth stressed out at school or at
home, some may be adults facing varied forms of life crises.
Volunteers provide emotional support through empathetic
listening and verbal responses aimed at helping callers clarify their thoughts.
What this helps callers do is re-assess their present situation, re-evaluate
how they want to face it, and approach the required resources in the community
to support them if necessary.
“They would say thanks for listening and that they feel better
after talking to me. Sometimes, it would be the difference in tone from the
start to the end of the call. The callers would sound more relieved at the end
of the call.” – O: self-employed, SOS volunteer of 2 years.
SOS volunteers don’t play the role of counsellor or
advice-giver, but instead provide a listening ear to those who feel they can’t
or won’t talk to anyone else about what they are going through.
While the hotline is manned by volunteers, full time
staff provide guidance and supervise all operations.
Even with staff guidance however,
taking on this role definitely requires ample preparation on the volunteer’s
The volunteer preparation training
provided in-house at SOS takes place over nine months and is divided into three
The first phase involves classroom
learning, small group discussions, and role play. Volunteers learn listening
and responding skills, how to handle different types of calls, emotional
self-care, and more.
“In SOS, I witnessed tremendous personal growth. Admittedly, I used to be
quite judgmental and opinionated. I
am now more open to listening. I am still learning and that is why I’m
still here after 13 years.” – D: working freelance, SOS volunteer of 13 years.
In the second phase, volunteers
get to experience handling calls with the guidance of a volunteer mentor, and
apply what they’ve learnt to real situations.
Finally, the last phase puts
volunteers back in the classroom to reflect on their learning so far and
acquire advanced empathy and hotline skills.
Ready to start your journey of self-discovery and help others while you're at it? Find out more or apply here now!
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