Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, VIA LINK appreciates donations to keep the agency operating. VIA LINK’s mission is to help individuals and families understand the resources and services available and assist them in connecting to these services.
VIA LINK Needs Volunteers
VIA LINK 2-1-1 offers volunteer opportunities for college level students and individuals in the helping professions looking for community involvement. VIA LINK 2-1-1 relies on the support of dedicated volunteers to keep our hotlines fully staffed. Our volunteers provide free, short-term crisis counseling and referrals for Helpline 2-1-1 and The National Suicide Prevention LifelineF, as well as operating VIA LINK'S own Crisis Teen Textline.
Our Volunteer Specialists are of diverse backgrounds who reside in the greater New Orleans area. We are in particular need of volunteers who come from the helping professions i.e. mental health counseling, social work, psychology, and psychiatry.
VIA LINK offers training for Volunteer Specialists 3 times a year. Click here for further information on prospective training dates.
Volunteer Application Process:
VIA LINK/ 2-1-1 requires that applicants for the Hotline Specialist Training program meet the following criteria:
- Applicants must be at least 19 years of age and have completed at least one years of college. College courses must include courses in the above specified helping professions.
- Employment, internship, and/or volunteering experiences in the above helping professions will also be considered.
- Provide an updated resume.
- Provide three professional references for contact.
Applicants must complete the two phases of screening in order to be considered as a Volunteer Specialist:
Fill out and submit the application and provide your professional resume.
Email both documents to the Volunteer & Training Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Individual Interview
After applicants submit the completed application and resume, the Volunteer & Training Supervisor will provide further instruction and will schedule an individual interview for further screening with eligible applicants.
The Volunteer & Training Coordinator will notify applicants if they have been selected to volunteer with VIA LINK and will provide additional information on the upcoming training.
Training Programs Offered:
VIA LINK volunteers/interns have the option to choose between three trainings offered:
Full Crisis Hotline Training - There are four phases in the VIA LINK Hotline Specialist Training program totaling approximately 60 hours of training. In order to become a Hotline Specialist, each trainee must fully participate in all four phases. Crisis Hotline Specialists answer the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Helpline 2-1-1, and have the option of working on the Crisis Teen Textline.
Helpline 2-1-1 Training – Volunteers/Interns have the option of becoming Information & Referral Specialists, answering only Helpline 2-1-1. I&R Specialists will become familiar with VIA LINK’s resource database of over three thousand local non-profits and community organizations within VIA LINK’s ten parish service area while providing information and referrals to callers in need. I&R Specialists will also assist in the expansion of VIA LINK’ resource and information databases. The Helpline 2-1-1 Training is approximately 20 hours of training, including three phases. In order to become an Information & Referral Specialist each trainee must fully participate in all three phases.
Outreach Volunteer Training – VIA LINK needs volunteers to help with agency outreach in the community. Outreach volunteers go through a training process to learn about VIA LINK and what we do, including information on our hotlines and training programs available. Volunteers then represent VIA LINK at community events such as health fairs and community walks, passing out information and answering questions about VIA LINK’s programs and services. Outreach volunteers can also have the opportunity to speak about VIA LINK’s mission and services to both individual citizens and other community agencies.Outreach volunteers need to have a good attitude and be comfortable speaking in public. Must either have own transportation or access to some form of transportation to get to community events."
Volunteer training is provided at no charge to volunteers. In return for this extensive training, VIA LINK 2-1-1 asks that each volunteer commit a certain amount of time with our agency, depending on the training program selected.
Full Crisis Hotline Training - As this is the most intensive training offered, VIA LINK asks that volunteers/interns completing this training commit a total of 150 hours of service (minimum of 15 hours per month). The 150 hour commitment begins once the initial training is complete and the trainee is cleared to independently answer hotline calls. The four phases of Specialist Training are all a part of the 60 hours of initial training and do not count towards the 150 hour commitment. However, all time spent at official VIA LINK 2-1-1 activities, including covering hotline shifts, assisting at recruitment and fundraising events, and attending additional training or supervisory sessions may count towards the volunteer commitment
Helpline 2-1-1 Training - Information and Referral Specialists are asked to commit a total of 60 hours (minimum of 15 hours per month). The 60 hour commitment begins once the initial training is complete and the trainee is cleared to independently answer helpline calls. The three phases of training are all a part of the 20 hours of initial training and do not count towards the 60 hour commitment. However, all time spent at official VIA LINK 2-1-1 activities, including covering hotline shifts, assisting at recruitment and fundraising events, and attending additional training or supervisory sessions may count towards the volunteer commitment.
Outreach Volunteer Training - Outreach Volunteers are asked to commit a total of 40 hours to VIA LINK. The 40 hour commitment begins once the initial training is complete.
Benefits of Training:
- Gain valuable crisis intervention and counseling skills
- Expand your knowledge of community resources
- Learn advanced communication skills
- Meet a variety of new people
- Develop networking opportunities
- Professional training program
- Evening training classes
- Flexible schedule when volunteering