(517) 337-1717 (24-hour Crisis Line)
(517) 337-1728 (Business Line)

2504 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

 "Sometimes it hurts too much not to talk... That's the worst, when the secret stays locked up for want of an understanding ear."

Want to Volunteer?  Call the Ear today!

Crisis Volunteers

We are always looking for volunteers to join our staff.  The Ear runs two or three training sessions every year to teach prospective crisis counselors the necessary skills.

In order to become a volunteer, you must first attend an orientation (check the Calendar for upcoming orientation dates and locations ).  Orientations take about two hours, and include:

  • Filling out an application

  • Learning more about the organization

  • Participating in a small group where you meet other potential volunteers as well as current crisis counselors

Someone from the Ear (generally our Recruitment and Orientation Director) will contact you to let you know if your application was accepted.  If so, the next step is to complete the training program itself.

The Listening Ear's training program has been called one of the most effective programs in the country for teaching empathy, crisis intervention skills, and active listening.  Many volunteers describe training as the most powerful life-changing experience they've ever been through.  The 65+ hour program, spread over two weekends, consists of:

  • Lectures

  • Exercises

  • Small group interactions

  • Role plays

Want to Volunteer?  Call the Ear today! 

  Orientation and Training Q&A

Question: What exactly is The Listening Ear?
Answer: The Listening Ear is Michiganís longest running crisis intervention center. The all volunteer staff provides free crisis counseling to telephone and walk in clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Volunteers also offer sexual assault counseling free of charge. All services offered are anonymous and confidential.

Question: What do I have to do to become a volunteer?
Answer: New volunteers must first attend one orientation session in order to learn more about The Listening Ear and fill out an application. There is no need to sign up in advance for an orientation session. After orientations are complete you will receive a call to find out if you have been accepted into training. If you are accepted, you must successfully complete the two-week training program before you can begin answering calls.

Question: How long is training? Will it interfere with my school or work schedule?
Answer: Training consists of approximately 60 hours spread out over the course of two weeks. All weekday training sessions are in the evenings (7PM) in order to avoid most school and work conflicts. Weekend sessions run throughout the day. New volunteers must attend every training session in order to become a staff member.

Question: What topics are covered in training?
Answer: Topics are centered on the types of calls received at The Listening Ear. Skills learned will revolve around helping with such issues as loneliness, depression, suicide, sexuality, sexual orientation, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, alcohol, drugs, and sexual assault.

Question: Once I become a staff member, how much time must I devote to your organization?
Answer: The Listening Ear asks volunteers to give one 4-hour shift per week to answer the phones. This may seem like too much for some, but keep in mind that on most shifts you are not constantly on the phone (although this can happen). Many volunteers bring work to do while on shift, making the four hour commitment much easier to fit into the week.

Question: I am especially interested in becoming involved with your sexual assault counseling program. How do I do this?
Answer : All sexual assault counselors must first go through regular training and work at least 6 shifts answering the phones before they are able to go through the additional 40 hour sexual assault training program.

In case you are wondering what it looks like inside the ear, here is a picture of the phone room where all the calls are taken:

Non-Crisis Volunteers

As with any organization, a great deal of work is required to keep The Listening Ear functioning.  These responsibilities include word processing, data entry, building maintenance, and many various office-related tasks.  The regular volunteers try to keep these duties under control, but our primary responsibility is always to our clients.  As a result, we're always looking for those people willing to help out by taking on non-crisis duties.

Non-crisis volunteers are not required to attend any orientation or training sessions before beginning their work, but they are bound by the same confidentiality clause as any volunteer.  Being an NCV is also a good way to earn community service hours.  If you've been thinking about becoming a crisis volunteer but aren't sure yet, becoming an NCV is a good way to get acquainted with the Ear.

To apply for a position as a non-crisis volunteer, stop by the Ear or call the business line to set up an appointment with our Office Manager.

Last Modified: January 11, 2011

© 2007, The Listening Ear

Privacy Policy: We do not release or sell information about website visitors.



Interested in helping people in crisis?  The Listening Ear trains new volunteers three times a year.

To find out about the next training program and how to become a crisis counselor please check the Calendar and Volunteer section or contact us.

Home | Sexual Assault Counseling | Referral Database | About Us | History | To Volunteer | Calendar | Support Us | Newsletter | Links | Thank-you