From the Executive Director

22 Jul From the Executive Director

Happy July! I hope your summer is going well and you are getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

We at Caring Contact continue to be busy beavers. In the past six months, we have educated 485 community residents ages 10 and up on good listening skills, building up our communities so everyone will have access to a compassionate listener. We have responded to 4,760 pleas for help, comforting and giving hope to those in distress. We have distributed 10,364 educational materials in the community, spreading the word about the power of personal connection.

Responding to the calls from local school districts that have suffered suicides in the last five years, we are developing age-appropriate curricula for high and middle school students in active listening, emotional wellness, and suicide prevention. We are working with Roselle Park High School, as well as the Cranford and Westfield school districts to bring training to them. In addition, we will be developing emotional wellness curricula for the elementary grades.

We are also developing curricula to meet the needs of first responders for training in active listening, emotional wellness and suicide prevention. In the fall, we will be training volunteer rescue squad members from Berkeley Heights, Warren and Watchung.

I am pleased to announce the addition of Sarah Mandel, RN, LCSW to our family as Caring Contact’s Clinical Advisor. Sarah will provide support to our internal listening community, our volunteers who compassionately listen to our callers. This position will benefit our listeners by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of issues that face our callers. Our existing Volunteer Manager, Ashley Bambo, will continue to provide day-to-day support and oversight to our listeners.

Both Sarah and Ashley are members of Caring Contact’s Quality Assurance Committee. Contact’s Quality Assurance committee, the first in our 40-year history, is working on bringing us to the next level of best practice for crisis lines. The Quality Assurance committee is focused on continuous quality improvement and is made up of licensed mental health clinicians in the community. We have also added two mental health clinicians to our board, one in private practice and one a school counselor.

So enjoy the rest of your summer. Feel free to contact me with any ideas or questions you may have. Thanks.

Joanne Oppelt
Executive Director