SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The Victim Center on North Boonville has been providing services to victims free of charge since 1976, but now they're asking for your help.
"The Victim Center was originally a grassroots organization run, in large part, by volunteers," Victim Center volunteer coordinator Paula Tindell says.
Now, they need between 20 and 30 of them to help keep their crisis hotline running 24-7.
"That first call we get is usually from somebody right after a crime occurred, and they're scared," executive director Brandi Bartel says. "They don't know where to turn. They're often in the darkest hour, quite frankly, of their life."
Volunteers would choose hours they could be on call to help victims who are using the hotline. Bartel says interested volunteers can choose their hours, and don't need any special education.
"The best type of volunteer is someone who has a compassionate heart and are willing to serve. It doesn't have to be someone with special skill sets because we do provide the training at the Victim Center."
Tindell was one of the organizations first volunteers, and has seen it grow a lot since 1976 - always adding little services when someone on staff noticed something could be done better. For example, one night when a rape victim had no clothes to wear after handing them over as evidence.
"We knew at that time that would never happen again," Tindell said. "Now we take a comfort kit. Every advocate has a comfort kit in their trunk. It has a sweat suit, flip flops, and some comfort items just to help them get out that door and home with some dignity."
If you'd like to volunteer, use the link on the right side of this page to get started. Volunteers will be trained in a seminar on October 28, but must give an interview and pass a background check first.