Volunteers bring comfort to the anguished

Courtesy photo

Trauma Intervention Programs of San Diego is about neighbors helping neighbors. For more than 37 years, TIP volunteers have responded to the continuous high demand for crises intervention throughout the county. TIP volunteers intervene immediately after a tragedy, working alongside local fire departments, law enforcement, and hospitals to offer crises 24 hours a day.

TIP Executive Director Sher DeWeese said TIP provides a necessary aspect to the emergency response system. She said most calls come when someone has died, whether it in a home, a car accident, or the emergency room.

DeWeese said when someone calls 9-1-1, paramedics arrive for life saving, law enforcement arrives for investigation, and either law enforcement or fire contacts TIP, and a volunteer will arrive on scene in around 20 minutes.

“We are there specifically to provide support to the survivors, to the grievers, to the family members, the witnesses, the neighbor, the roommate,” she said. “The support we provide is mostly emotional support. We acknowledge what has happened is extremely traumatic and difficult. Whatever it is that they are feeling is normal. Even if they are not feeling anything at all in those moments.”

DeWeese said in her 10 years as a crisis team manager, she has seen hundreds of feedback reports come back, and everyone says that just having the presence of a volunteer there made them grateful that someone would come just to be with them in that time of need.

To be a TIP volunteer you must meet the following requirements:

• Must be at least 16-years-old

• Clean criminal history

• Clean driving record

• Current auto insurance

• Commit to three 12-hour shifts per month for a minimum of one year

• Attend monthly continuing education meetings

• Access to a cellular device to use on shift

• Attend 40-hour training academy including field training meeting

• Regular access to internet and email account for communications

In 2023, TIP will host three training academies throughout San Diego for individuals wanting to join as a TIP volunteers. There is no experience required to attend and volunteer. Registration space is limited. Complete details and registration information can be found online: https://tipsandiego.org/become-a-volunteer/ or call 855-TIPSD-HELP for more information.