When Morgan Travis graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she wanted to gain work experience in the field.
After learning about volunteer opportunities with Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (SBH), she signed up. Travis enjoyed her experience so much that she applied for a permanent position and was hired as a behavioral health paraprofessional.
Q: What kinds of volunteer work did you do at SBH?
A: I volunteered at the front desk at the Outpatient Office and the Empowerment Center. At outpatient, I did general office tasks: answered phones, scheduled appointments, checked insurance verifications and interacted with clients in the waiting area. At the Empowerment Center, I socialized with clients, participated in groups, played games, pool, or just colored. (The Empowerment Center is a place where clients can socialize with peers.)
Q: What did you enjoy most about your volunteer work?
A: Meeting different people from all walks of life and listening to their stories.
Q: Can you tell me about a volunteer moment that has special meaning for you?
A: I can’t think of a particular moment, but as humans, we just want to be heard, so listening to the different stories of the clients helps them with their struggles. When I help someone, I never hear “thanks for fixing this,” but “thanks for listening to me.”
Q: How does it feel to know you’re making a difference?
A: It feels pretty good. I don’t know on what scale I’m making a difference, but I feel if I can make the day (better) for even just a few clients, then that’s huge for me.
Q: Do you have any advice for people seeking volunteer experiences?
A: Be humble, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. If you are looking for a place to work, volunteering looks good on any resume and if you’re applying for a position where you are currently volunteering, it can help give your potential employers a preview of how you are as an employee.
For more information about volunteering at Southwest Behavioral Services, call 602-265-8338 or visit sbhservices.org.
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