BOISE, Idaho — A Treasure Valley program - lending a helping hand during people's worst moments - is in need of more volunteers.
As 6 On Your Side has previously reported, the Trauma Intervention Program dispatches well-trained citizens to the scene of suicides, overdoses, fatal fires and car crashes among other things. Now, they're recruiting more people to join their team.
Their main focus is helping survivors on scene as they deal with shock and grief in the immediate hours after a death. While the experience can be incredibly rewarding for volunteers, it's also a major commitment.
The upcoming 55-hour training academy for eligible applicants spans from August 29 to September 8. Volunteers are also required to attend continuing education meetings each month and dedicate three days a week to 12-hour on-call shifts, during which they can be dispatched at a moment's notice.
Shifts run from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. The program currently operates in all of Ada County and within the City of Nampa.
The biggest criteria for new recruits is the desire to help people when they need it most.
"Our survivors will refer to us as angels, but they'll never know our names. They just are so grateful that somebody was there that cares about them," TIP program manager Kymber Neal-Jenkins said. "[We] just want that caring, compassionate person that can go in very quietly and support somebody in their worst moments and back out equally as quiet."
The first week of training focuses on what these traumatic situations are like from the survivor's perspective, teaching volunteers how to ease their pain in the midst of a crisis.
"How do we support them? What do they need?" Neal-Jenkins explained. "And really, a caring presence - just a highly trained caring presence - can really go a long way."
Week 2 focuses on how to work with first responders in a helpful manner, by assisting survivors in gathering important documents and items useful to law enforcement or the Coroner's Office.
TIP also hopes to add to their team of teen volunteers - over the age of 16 - who respond with an adult volunteer to situations where kids are present and in need of a peer to turn to.
"Often times it's a kid or a young adult who's there," Neal-Jenkins said, "and if we can respond very quickly, we can help ease that suffering immediately and start that healing process right while they're in the midst of crisis."
To learn more about the TIP program or to apply for the training academy click here.