Q. How do I find an event to volunteer for?
A. Go to our events page to get information on the latest events being scheduled in your area. Also, join the Sidewalk Talk Volunteer Facebook page for last minute events. We will also email monthly with a general newsletter. Don't forget, you can always find a buddy and go out and listen on your own any time you like. Just follow the safety and ethics protocols we set forth in the training. We also have volunteer coordinators (who are also volunteers) you can email here at firstname.lastname@example.org and Aimee or Tanje will answer your questions.
Q. Is sitting out on the sidewalk talk listening to the public an ethical violation for therapists?
A. We get asked this question a lot. No. We are not acting as therapists. Sure, we use our good listening skills that we have honed as clinicians but we are not soliciting clients for ourselves (which would be a dual relationship) and we are not offering 'free therapy on the street'. That is what is refreshing about this project. We are showing up as citizens. A therapist who listens at a BBQ is not beholden to ethics guidelines or duty to report in California (check your laws to find out about reporting laws) nor is listening in a public setting considered a violation of ethics because we aren't acting as clinicians. Many of our therapists have reported their own clinical skills have been elevated by this project because they got to experience offering deep listening without being in the "role" of a therapist. If you have any doubt about this, call your state board and check it out. We already have checked it out legally and ethically but as in all things, if you feel anxious you should also place a call into your governing bodies to soothe your fears. Finally, 50% of our volunteers are not therapists.
Q. What if I am listening to someone and they talk about harming themself or someone else?
A. In our online training we talk about risk assessing to determine if you need to call the police. We also offer listening tips for difficult listening scenarios on our volunteer Facebook group. We hold you tightly so you feel confident how to respond and this is also one of the beautiful aspects of Sidewalk Talk. Because so many therapists volunteer alongside non therapists, volunteers learn to be more informed and capable citizens in supporting someone who is suffering with a mental health condition. At each listening event your leader will bring emergency numbers and crisis lines to give out to people. And don't forget, there is a whole community of volunteers who have your back in any situation or any response you have to a listening session. You are supported here.
Q. When will I get my Sidewalk Talk volunteer t-shirt?
A. We use Booster which is an on-demand t-shirt printer who donates the profits from the shirts to Social Good. They email you an "expect by date" when you order. Look for an email in your in box. If we do not reach an order minimum you may need to re order. We will help you with that should it occur. Most of our print runs are set up every three weeks to go to print and delivery is two weeks after. So order in advance as it takes a bit. Your city leader should have loaner spares if yours does not come in time.
Q. I want to lead Sidewalk Talk in my city. Can you tell me more what is involved and if I need any pre requisites I should know about?
A. All city leaders must be in the mental health field. We have a job description here. To sign up, fill out the regular volunteer form and click "yes" when it asks if you want to be a city leader. One of our city leader coordinators will be in touch with you. You may also email email@example.com and Myisha or Marian will get back to you. We often have co-city leaders where one is in the mental health field and the other is in another industry. We find these partnerships tend to make the whole project fun and invigorating. You will find some of the most amazing people volunteer for this project so teaming up and together tribing with another leader to inspire and motivate your volunteers will make the whole thing very rewarding for you and it is great for building your personal and professional network.
Q. Do you provide liability insurance for volunteers?
A. No we do not. Sidewalk Talk as an entity is insured but our volunteers sign a release of liability waiver.
Q. As an Therapist Intern in training, can I get clinical hours for volunteering for Sidewalk Talk?
A. We are working with the State of California to get all volunteer hours approved intern hours. Stay tuned. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a status update.
Q. Do you have any job openings or other ways to get involved that does not involve listening on the street?
A. We do not have any paid employees. But we welcome donated help with photography, graphics, public relations and fundraising. We have pulled this off because this isn't "our" project it is "your" project. Every coordinator that you talk to or person you interact with does this while working full time job and often tending to a busy family life. Thank You for even asking this question. We want you to join in!
Q. We would like to support Sidewalk Talk as a donor and/or community partner. How do we partner with you?
A. Email our fundraising and partner team and Valerie or Traci will get back to you. We are building a partners section to our website. FunPar@psychedinsanfrancisco.com