By: Madi Nitzky
Do you enjoy helping people?
Interested in gaining counseling experience?
Want to give back to the community?
Centre Helps is the place for you! Here at Centre Helps, we hope to provide opportunities to individuals who are interested in expanding their experiences working in a nonprofit setting, learning counseling and listening skills, and helping others. While our training class schedule aligns with Penn State semesters, this volunteer opportunity is NOT limited to students. In fact, we encourage local community members to take advantage of this valuable volunteer opportunity.
Centre Helps is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization located right here in Downtown State College. We have existed since 1971, offering non bias information, referrals, and emotional support to individuals experiencing a variety concerns. Centre Helps offers a 24-hour hotline and supports walk-in clients during business hours.
Our dedicated and well trained volunteers are the reason that we are able to serve thousands of individuals in need every year!
To become a hotline counselor, volunteers train for 1 semester (11 weeks total) two nights/per week from 6-10pm. Training topics include mental health, mental illness, counseling skills, and information and referral for basic needs. Training is both hands-on and individualized, and includes a variety of readings, speakers, trainings, and role plays.
Once training is complete, volunteers typically work 4 hours on the hotline per week and around 1-3 overnights per month. (Don’t worry, you can sleep!). This is a good way to get one-on-one experience with clients and use learned skills to help them through a wide array of situations. The training and skills we provide volunteers are carried with them throughout the rest of their lives.
Benefits of Volunteering at Centre Helps:
Learn Skills! After the 11 weeks of training you’ll walk away with knowledge related to a variety of mental health topics (from anxiety and depression to suicide and self-mutilation), and gain and understanding of the skills needed to handle these topics.
“Volunteering at Centre Helps was the best decision for my career…I will be forever indebted for all the skills and experience this agency has given me.”
Meet other Like-Minded Individuals! Centre Helps is not only an agency, but a community of empathetic, motivated people!
“I greatly appreciated being surrounded by a friendly family of cohesive staff, collectively exercising our opportunity to provide help to others.”
Gain Life Experience! Our volunteers often use the training they received at Centre Helps when applying for jobs, graduate school, or propelling their careers.
“I have consistently relied upon the skills taught to me during my time at Centre Helps…knowing how to be an active listener…is invaluable.”
Give Back to the Community! Play a role in helping others and making a difference in a person’s life who needs it!
“Centre Helps affords me opportunities to serve others, utilize life experience, and mingle with younger people. I like to feel useful.”
How to Apply: Please visit our website: https://www.centrehelps.org/volunteer-training-1/
Applications for the Spring 2018 Training class are due Monday, January 22 and the training begins the week of February 5.