Contact Altoona, Blair County's only 24-hour telephone helpline, will hold spring training classes beginning April 2.
Classes will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays for five weeks at the Contact Altoona Administrative offices.
"Our training programs used to be held in the evening," said Contact Altoona Executive Director Terriann Grove, "but we had such a nice turnout since we moved the classes to the afternoon, that we will continue with the daylight classes."
Terriann Grove (right), Contact Altoona executive director, and Lauren DiBacco, Penn State Altoona student and Contact Altoona intern, go over the upcoming schedule for the spring Contact Altoona training classes.
Training classes consist of local professionals teaching basic and advanced listening skills, along with learning how to handle calls of grief, loneliness, substance abuse, crisis calls and helping people find information for needed services. Contact Altoona's helpline is staffed solely by volunteers and training sessions are held in the Spring and Fall.
"We are always in need of more volunteers," TKay Gressley,Contact Altoona's helpline coordinator, said.
All Contact Altoona calls are kept confidential, and all names of Contact Altoona telephone volunteers
Contact Altoona is a nonprofit agency that has been providing helpline services to Blair County since 1982.
Trained volunteers staff telephone lines, taking calls from individuals who are in need of a listening ear or looking for information and referral services. The growing need of the population for human services increases the need to effectively and efficiently connect people with the broadest range of community services. An extensive resource file enables Contact Altoona to serve as a link to the network of community resources and human service agencies.
Once the volunteer completes the training, they can sign up for any shift that fits into their schedules.
Contact Altoona volunteers can also pull a shift in their homes due to the Call Forwarding Service available.
Another service provided by Contact Altoona is the Reassurance Program where Contact volunteer make calls to designated residents who are shut-ins, people living alone, people that are ill or handicapped.
The reassurance call can be a comforting call to someone who doesn't communicate with anyone all day and it also serves as a reminder for residents to take their medicine and to make sure they are safe.
For more information about becoming a helpline volunteer or to register for the training, call 946-0531 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.