While many of us were sitting down to Christmas dinner last year, Family Shelter hotline staff was answering calls from distressed individuals. As the revelers in Times Square counted down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, people were calling our hotline looking for shelter, resources, counseling… and sometimes, someone to just listen.
Each day, those affected by domestic abuse have the opportunity to find help and solace through Family Shelter’s hotline, which is staffed 24 hours/day and seven days a week.
Assistant Shelter Director Lisa Horne described a recent call. “Shelter Advocate Jennifer Ward was on a hotline call for close to an hour and I could actually hear the caller crying on the phone,” Lisa said. “Jennifer was giving her the support and validation she needed when they were suddenly disconnected.
“The woman called back and I answered the call,” Lisa continued. “She asked me to please tell Jennifer how much she appreciated her kindness. She told me that no one has ever spent that amount of time listening and not judging her; she said that she reaches out to friends on a regular basis and she usually feels worse afterwards because it makes her feel more isolated.”
At one point in their conversation, the woman mentioned one of her coping strategies and Lisa praised her for it. “She just broke down crying and said, ‘Oh my God, I’m finally doing something right. For the first time ever I feel successful — even if it’s just that little thing.’”