Volunteer trainings taking place in communities across the globe
In the wake of recent tragic events, Chai Lifeline has been working closely with Jewish communities across the U.S. and around the world to train and recruit local volunteers in crisis and trauma response.
“A singular traumatic event can have a long-term impact on our children, families, and communities for years to come,” said Rabbi Dr. Dovid Fox, director of Chai Lifeline Crisis Services. “Sadly, many tragedies in recent years—from illness diagnoses and sudden deaths to natural disasters and the war in Ukraine—have brought this issue to the forefront.”
The need for Chai Lifeline’s Crisis Services has grown significantly. In 2022, Chai Lifeline led 2,317 crisis and trauma interventions to more than 10,000 people. Now, Chai Lifeline is ramping up its volunteer recruitment efforts to better serve Jewish communities.
“Chai Lifeline’s Crisis Services has more than two decades of experience responding to all forms of personal and communal tragedies, providing immediate support, clinical interventions, trainings, and resources to those impacted by trauma,” said Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar. “There is a serious need for mental health first responders in our community and we must be prepared to respond effectively.”
Chai Lifeline’s Crisis Services have provided families, schools, shuls, camps, and community organizations around the globe with an unprecedented level of resources and services in the aftermath of a tragedy. Starting in the first few hours after a crisis occurs, Chai Lifeline’s trained paraprofessionals support the affected families and facilitate community responses.
“The Crisis Services volunteers are uniquely suited to address the needs of the community as they are members of the community, and understand the cultural, religious, and emotional background of those they serve,” said Rabbi Mordechai Gobioff, MSW, Chai Lifeline national director of client services. “Our team is made up of members from across the Jewish spectrum—from Chassidish and Litvish to Sefardic and Chabad, we serve each community with sensitivity to their specific needs.”
Volunteers offer immediate support following crises, guiding, and supporting community leaders, rebbeim, and educators in how to address children, families and those impacted by trauma.
The volunteers undergo a rigorous onboarding process and receive ongoing training and support to ensure they are equipped to respond effectively.
“Ideal candidates for volunteer training are motivated adults seeking to work under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals to address their communities during times of crisis,” said Dr. Fox. “They are screened carefully to ensure they have a level of inspiration to work in a supportive and compassionate, yet structured manner.”
The Crisis Services team currently includes more than 150 volunteers in communities around the world. Volunteers are made up of rebbeim, educators, clinicians, social workers, community leaders, and dedicated people who want to make a difference in their communities.
Volunteer trainings have recently taken place in Lakewood, Monsey, Brooklyn, Deal, Monroe, Miami, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Montreal, Antwerp, and Melbourne. Additional trainings are planned for Chicago, London, Toronto, and Buenos Aires. If you would like to learn more or apply to become a volunteer in your community, visit www.chailifeline.org/crisis.