Friday, June 19, 2009

Information &Referrals

If you look at my Twitter profile, you will see several non-profit organizations and charities that I associate myself with. You may be surprised and wonder how one person can support so many agencies and still have time for themselves. Let me tell you a bit of my experience in working with so many (and there are many more that are not listed). I once worked for The United Way of America as an Information & Referral Specialist. This is an actual job that requires extensive training, as well as national testing. Once trained in this field, I took calls from the general public, who were usually at the end of their rope, looking for assistance for a variety of problematic issues. Some of the calls were from those about to become homeless and were looking for resources to prevent this devastation. Some calls were from those who had just lost everything from a fire or flood and needed immediate assistance. People called in with addiction issues needing treatment, as well as, health/ insurance issues. There were those who needed help with utility bills, finding financial assistance for school, issues with work related discrimination, HIV/AIDS support, suicide ideation, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mortgage difficulties, and just about every topic that you could imagine. It was my (and several of my colleagues) position to contact the referring agencies and discuss the type of assistance that they could provide. This work was very interesting because all of these agencies wanted to reach out and help those in need. My callers usually called us as a last resort, as they have tapped into every other suggestion given to them by friends and family. I was amazed at the services that were out there wanting to lend a hand, if people would only ask. In some cases, financial assistance was readily given. I thoroughly enjoyed this cross talk with these organizations, as it was a learning experience for me, and I soon became very familiar with every individual service that each agency provided. And there were always more agencies willing to help. They just needed to get the word out to let the public know that they existed. I felt great joy from connecting people to services that would make their lives a little better. And it is all about these ever so important connections. Once involved with an agency, you are likely to become a lifetime client and always be provided with support, if needed. Like all non-profits, funding is necessary. Some receive state and federal grants, and some rely on private donations. To keep these agencies up and running, money is needed. Even giving a small amount can make a big difference if the masses are donating. On Twitter, I saw that there were users who were promoting a cause, but these users usually posted an article related to their cause and that was it. I thought a more personal touch was needed so I decided to make myself as available as much as possible to answer questions, give support, give referrals and (as a Counselor) just listen to the trials and tribulations that people were going through. Sometimes, people need only to vent and feel as though they are being heard and understood. This reduces anxiety. If their situation remains in their head, it gains power, seeming worse than it actually is, and almost becomes paralyzing. Once out in the open, problems seems much more realistic and solvable. So please take the time to investigate the link that I provide and skim through the list of services that each organization provide. From, "Feeding America" to "UNICEF", you will be a bit more educated. You may not be in need of the service, yourself, but you may know someone who can benefit from them. And you know, there are tens of thousands of people on Twitter. Everyone has baggage and life issues to deal with so I believe this service can be helpful. Every section of the country has their own division of the, "United way's First Call For Help". You need only to call your directory to locate the phone number of your local branch. Hopefully, connecting people to services will become a little easier on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. the web can often be a hostile place (as can the outside world). one of the nice surprises for me on Twitter was finding a wonderful sense of community. it's been a great influence on me and has helped me to feel more connected with other people both online and off.

    a special thank you to you, Mr Bassett, for the energy and time you spend in assisting others.