Call for volunteers: new texting service

For almost three decades, young people have been reaching out to Kids Help Phone for the support they need.

 

In partnership with, Crisis Text Line, Kids Help Phone will launch the first ever 24/7, free, nationwide texting service.

We are now recruiting volunteer Crisis Responders who will answer texts from young people looking for support. The volunteer position will be remote, meaning that you can participate from anywhere in Canada as long you have a strong, reliable internet connection! 

Becoming a Crisis Responder is simple:

  • Step 1Fill out the on-line application, which should take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: If selected for training, obtain and successfully get a Vulnerable Sector check (don’t worry, we will tell you how to do this!)
  • Step 3: Complete the 36-hour online training within six weeks
  • Step 4: Sign the Crisis Responder Agreement, which includes our Code of Conduct and Privacy Policy
  • Step 5: Take your first shift and start supporting young people in Canada!

Once we review the applications, we’ll contact everyone we think will be a great fit as a Crisis Responder. If you are selected, we will send you the Crisis Responder Agreement as well as information on background checks and our training.

If this sounds exciting to you, complete the online application to get started.

Questions? Check out our FAQ below, or use our online contact form.

Becoming a Crisis Responder FAQs
 

What are the requirements for becoming a Crisis Responder?

  • Obtain a Vulnerable Sector check with results that are satisfactory to Kids Help Phone
  • Be at least the age of majority in your jurisdiction of residence
  • Have access to a confidential computer (e.g. password-protected) and secure and reliable internet connection during all of your shifts
  • Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for at least 1 year
  • Sign our Crisis Responder Agreement
  • Complete and pass a 36-hour training program
  • Read and understand the Kids Help Phone Volunteer Privacy Policy


Who should become a Crisis Responder?  

Our volunteers need to be enthusiastic about helping people! You can be a professional, student, teacher, retiree, or anybody else with an internet connection and a willingness to learn how to support people over text.

What is the role of a Crisis Responder?

The role of a Crisis Responder is to bring texters from a “hot” moment to a cool calm, and to help them come up with a plan to stay healthy and safe. Crisis Responders are trained to do this using active listening and collaborative problem-solving. 

Will I be providing counselling as a Crisis Responder?

No. Kids Help Phone offers professional counselling services to young people over the phone and through our online live chat channel. The texting service differs from our phone and live chat channels in that it is a volunteer-based service (and you don’t have to be a professional counsellor to volunteer). Instead of offering a clinical counselling service, volunteers will take texters through a five-stage structured conversation designed to bring each texter from a hot moment to a cool calm.

What if I don’t know how to respond to a texter?

All of our Crisis Responders go through 36 hours of rigorous online training. For our service trial in Manitoba, we’ll be using a program that has been extensively field-tested. We do everything possible to make sure you log onto your first shift feeling confident and prepared. You’ll also be able to interact with your supervisor during your shifts, giving you plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get tips and feedback. In other words, you’ll never be alone on the platform, and if a situation becomes overwhelming, a professional will be right there to help.

What is the time commitment of a Crisis Responder?

Crisis Responders must commit to one 4 hour shift per week. Since we put so much time and training into each volunteer, we ask for a commitment of four hours per week for at least one full year. The texting service will be offered 24/7, so we’ll have shifts available around the clock for volunteers.

Will I have to use my cell phone to text?

Nope! Crisis Responders see and respond to texts through our web-based online platform. In other words, young people text us using their phones and we see and reply to their texts online. Don’t worry if this still seems confusing – if you get to be a volunteer, we’ll explain more during training.

What is “the platform”?

The platform is where all the action happens, and where we keep in touch with all our staff and Crisis Responders. It’s the online platform where Crisis Responders answer texts, and where supervisors monitor what’s going on during every shift.

Who will I be working with?

As a Crisis Responder, you will be joining a community of volunteers from around Canada along with paid staff supervisors.  Supervisors are there to help you with any conversations, support you in your role, and to make sure Kids Help Phone meets its legal duties regarding safety and reporting. You’ll learn more about these obligations in your training.

What kind of computer and internet connection do I need?

In order to do your job as a Crisis Responder, you need to make sure you have reliable, uninterrupted, and secure internet access during all of your shifts and access to a computer in a confidential space. That means no shifts on the Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, internet café, public library, or subway station. You must also ensure that passersby can’t read your screen while you’re on a shift. You will learn more about your privacy obligations in your training. 

Will texters know who I am?

No.  We take the anonymity of all our volunteers seriously.  You will not be expected to give any information about yourself to texters and we will not provide texters with any way to connect with any Crisis Responder outside of the texting service.

How do I get a Vulnerable Sector check? How much will it cost?

These are tough questions to answer.  Every police station has a different process – so depending on where you live this can change.  It is best to call your nearest police station to ask them what you need to get a vulnerable sector check and to ask them to waive your fees.  If you have any trouble getting a vulnerable sector check in your jurisdiction feel free to send an email to CTLsupport@kidshelpphone.ca.

When and where is the training?  

As long as you have a secure internet connection, you can complete the training wherever it’s convenient for you!! The training has a set start date but is completely online so you can work on it in your own time as long as you complete it in 6 weeks.  It’s a mix of videos, reading, quizzes and assignments.  It is a big time commitment at 36 hours – but you will learn a ton, including reflective listening, collaborative problem solving, and crisis management.  Once you have passed the training, you will be ready to sign up for a weekly shift and help launch the service with our great team of Supervisors there to support you every step of the way.

 

Our service is made possible through the generous donations that Kids Help Phone receives. Learn more about different ways to give.