Thursday, February 21 2013
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
(To see the newscast with Amber Southard, click this link.) WEARTV.com Newsroom Story
From house fires to violent crimes first responders take charge of a scene. But in the background survivors may be struggling to cope. That's where "Tip" comes in. The trauma intervention program. Volunteers are there to lend an ear or a helping hand.
Now teen volunteers are helping other young people in crisis.
"When you dial 911 this is one of the first things you see on scene, but not too far behind are tip volunteers offering emotional assistance to those in need."
Deanna Smith has been a tip volunteer for the past three years and now helps train others. Volunteers go through eight days of training and are on call for three 12-hour shifts a month. Smith says 90-percent of the calls she answers are death related...
Once on scene she offers anything from a shoulder to cry on to help calling family members. She's prepared for any situation. "I always have something for children whether it be coloring books, I bring puppets, I have wet wipes, I typically have snacks for them as well, I bring a bottle of water as well."
Tip now has a teen division. Sisters Megan Drake 18 and Madison 13- have been in the program since August "I enjoy being that shoulder to cry on."
"A lot of times when we go there and they'll just talk to us. We won't do much talking. They'll be the ones talking to us telling us memories that they have and we try to get them to laugh sometimes to get them to tell stories."
"To look at these young women giving their time, their compassion, it says so much about their character."
The girls were inspired by their father who's also a tip volunteer. They have advice for other teens who are thinking of joining the program.
"If you're the kind of person who loves to help out and maybe your parents would like to do it with you I think that would be great."
"I don't know that a lot of teens could handle it if they've been through something that would kind of touch home to them."
"If you or anyone you know would like to become a tip volunteer you can log onto our website at weartv.com and click on Newslinks.
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