From the Executive Director

07 Apr From the Executive Director

Welcome  to the revamped Caring Contact quarterly newsletter! I am so glad you are part of the Contact family. I have much to share. I hope you find the new format easy to navigate and the information useful. Drop me a line and let me know.

Our 40th Anniversary year was a great one indeed. We have a new name and logo so that we can become better known. We answered almost 14,000 calls and texts. We solidified our relationship with Crisis Text Line, bringing our texters 24/7 crisis availability. We revamped our listener training – all new listeners will be certified in Mental Health First Aid and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, improving the quality of our hotline services. We created a Quality Assurance Committee, made up of practicing mental health professionals who will be advising us in how to implement best practices in the field and bring us to a new, higher level of excellence. In the community, we trained about 250 youth and adults in active listening, mental wellness and suicide prevention. And we ended the year in better financial shape than ever – raising more money and garnering more assets than ever before.

Thank you for your part in making all this happen. It is only through you, as volunteer, donor, staff or community partner, that we move ahead in building our listening community.

In 2016, we have four goals: expand our listening community, increasing both our volunteer listener base and the number of people trained in the community; continue to improve our program quality; realize a positive net income; and explore sustainable sources of revenue.

To these ends, in February we conducted a national training in active listening for the Hepatitis C Association; our 89th training class began on March 21st; and we are already recruiting for our fall class. In addition, with input from the Quality Assurance Committee, we will offer six advanced trainings for our volunteer  listeners. We are also looking at developing a training specific to mental health professionals who would like to volunteer with us. Through Kean University, several students are creating a customized public relations plan for us, so that we may attract even more listeners. In conjunction with teaching professionals, we are developing a training for elementary and middle school students to teach them positive emotional coping skills and prevent the cutting and burning that appears as young as the fourth and fifth grades. We are meeting more mission because of your interaction with us. Thank you.

To ensure that we have enough resources to meet our mission, we are focusing more on individual giving and saying goodbye to our gala. And it’s working. Already several generous donors have agreed to match 1:1 the revenues we realize from our spring appeal, up to $7,500. We have also created designated giving opportunities, so that you have more of a say in how your gift will be used. In addition, we are looking at ways to offer our training to the community. This fall, we will partner with Seton Hall University in several market research projects, so that we know how to most effectively and cost efficiently connect with our constituencies.

Whether donor, volunteer, staff or community partner, you are helping us move forward, meeting more and more mission as we become more financially stable. Thank you for being part of our growing family. Thank you for all that we have accomplished together.

Here’s to a great 2016!