Give Back: Donating to Teen Lifeline
by Kate Bunton
We created Populum as a way to provide help to others and spread a message of health and hope. To reflect those values, every quarter we donate to a charity or organization we believe in, and we want to give you the opportunity to get involved alongside us. We’re highlighting the charities we help in a series of blog posts where you can learn more about each one’s mission and about the ways you can participate.
We’re kicking off our 2019 donations with a hometown charity. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Teen Lifeline is a suicide prevention hotline for teens, by teens. For more than 30 years, teenage volunteers have been working their phones and offering an ear to kids like themselves who need help. When someone calls in or sends a text message, they’re met by a trained volunteer who is equipped to walk them through their pain and is also a peer who understands and relates to their unique challenges. Teen Lifeline provides schools across the Phoenix area with information to print on their ID badges about getting in touch with Teen Lifeline to ensure no student ever has to feel like they’re alone.
We love this organization for the support they provide to struggling teens, but we also admire the skills volunteers learn by participating in the program. The staff is monitored by licensed clinicians at all times, which means these kids are receiving real training and have a mental health professional to mentor them throughout their time with the hotline. The average volunteer is with the company about three years, the majority of their time in high school, and they depart for college feeling empowered, compassionate, and prepared for challenges in their own lives. They also develop an acute awareness for warning signs in others. It’s an incredible gift on both sides of the coin, and we think that’s really cool.
Believe it or not, Teen Lifeline started with the made-for-TV movie, Surviving, starring the queen of teens herself, Molly Ringwald. Aired in 1985, it was the first time teenage suicide had been realistically portrayed on a national platform, sparking outrage initially, but led to decades worth of research and conversation surrounding how to aid teens who are struggling with mental health. It became apparent that teen suicide in Arizona was a particularly troubling issue; at the time the movie aired on TV, Arizona teen suicide rates were double the national average, ranking devastatingly as the second highest state in the nation for teen death caused by suicide. In response, Teen Lifeline was born.
We’re excited to share Teen Lifeline with you and give you the opportunity to show your support. If you or a teen you know is in the Phoenix area, consider volunteering your time. Just two or three shifts per month can save somebody’s life, and you can learn more about opportunities and community outreach here.
If you'd like to make a donation to Teen Lifeline, you can find their donation page here.