TREASURE VALLEY — While first responders focus on fighting fires, transporting injured victims and starting their investigations, volunteers with the Trauma Intervention Program are dispatched to help the survivors emotionally. Since many traumatic situations involve entire families, teenagers are getting involved to help children at a time of crisis.
"To have a caring well trained presence makes all the difference for their healing. It also supports our first responders and allows them to do what they need to do on scene," said Kymber Jenkins, Program Manager, TIP of the Treasure Valley.
One of the youngest volunteers at the most recent training academy, 18 year old Taylor White says she wanted to be a part of the program because of some of her own past experiences. Volunteering helps her find herself and find forgiveness.
"It's helping everyone. It's just the most important thing to me and I would love to be there for people in their most desperate and vulnerable times," said White.
Younger people can offer a special kind of perspective.
"They do a phenomenal job reaching out to the younger people, the peers. Often times, it's maybe a child or a young adult that has found a loved one deceased or maybe been in a car accident or witnessed something horrific and to have that peer to peer connection does make a lasting impact on them," said Jenkins.
The volunteers go through 55 hours of training and they learn how to make the initial contact with the survivors. Among their training exercises, they role play as survivors and volunteers.
"We're telling them look, you're in control, we're going to help you figure out everything that you went through and we're here for you. We're not going to tell you what to do. We're just here to be with you," said White.
For more information about the program and how to volunteer, head to TIPTreasureValley.org