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Volunteering with AFSP NCAC

14 Oct 2020 — 6 min read

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All of our chapter operations are made possible with the dedication of volunteers across the National Capital Area. Join us in our mission to #StopSuicide!

Below is information about the different levels of volunteer engagement depending on how much time you are able and ready to give. We welcome you, whether it is just for the day or for much more! Don't forget to keep scrolling to read more about our chapter committees, whether you hope to join one now or simply learn more about everything we do here at NCAC.

Complete our online volunteer application to get started!

Levels of Engagement

Day of Event Volunteers

Sign up to help out during the day-of at a chapter event! There are numerous opportunities throughout the year to help us with events. From set up and tear down to running stations like event registration, pickup for prizes and other goodies, craft tables, and more, we need your helping hands! Our busiest time of need for day-of volunteers is in the fall during our Out of the Darkness season.

Committee Participation

If you are looking for more consistent and ongoing participation, join one of our chapter committees. Get to know fellow volunteers and chapter leaders, and share your good ideas to help us shape the future of this chapter. We have a range of committees, described below, some of which are seasonal planning committees while others are active year-round.

Chapter Leadership

Individuals with a desire for a higher level of involvement are encouraged to pursue leadership within the chapter. Chapter leaders develop and steward our strategic plan, and serve as a source of guidance and support for fellow volunteers. We offer leadership opportunities that vary by level of responsibility and time commitment, including both board- and non-board-level positions. All leadership roles require application to be reviewed by the Nominations Committee and subsequently voted on by the chapter Board of Directors. While prior volunteer experience is required before taking on a leadership role, it is never too early to start exploring your leadership goals within the chapter! We want to support your endeavor to become a leader in suicide prevention. Please contact our Board Chair, Ali Walker, at afsp.ncac.boardchair@gmail.com to discuss your interest in leadership.

Chapter Committees 

The AFSP National Capital Area Chapter is working hard to bring suicide prevention resources to as many people as we can across Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. It is through a number of volunteer-run committees that we are able to do this work, and hope you will consider joining us!  The following chapter committees are described in more detail below:

  • Communications Committee
  • Community Walk Committees
  • Development Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Spring Event Planning Committees (Golf Tournament, Hike for Hope)
  • Loss & Healing Committee
  • Project 2025 Committee
  • Public Policy Committee
  • Steering Committee
  • Youth Engagement Committee

Communications Committee

This committee is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of internal and external chapter-wide communications. Volunteers play an essential role in chapter marketing and public relations activity through:

  • Website Updates
  • Social Media
  • Email Communications
  • Newsletters / Online Blog
  • Press Releases
  • Public Speaking & Interviews

Community Walk Committees

The annual Out of the Darkness Community Walks would not be possible without the hard work of our volunteer walk chairs and planning committees. Each fall, NCAC hosts walks in D.C., Fairfax, Loudoun, and Manassas. These committees are a great place to start for new volunteers looking to gain a broader understanding of our role in the community. As a committee member, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Raise awareness and funds to serve our mission
  • Aide in the planning of a meaningful event that attracts thousands of local attendees
  • Recruit and support walk participants
  • Grow community & sponsor support
  • Set the groundwork for new partnerships with organizations, schools, and community leaders

Development Committee

Our role in the community involves raising awareness, educating the public, advocating for policy change, and supporting those affected by suicide. To fulfill this role, we rely on the hard work of volunteers and on the support of both individual donors and community sponsors who make it all possible. Our Development Committee works alongside our board liaisons to build relationships that will further strengthen our efforts, from strategic volunteer recruitment to networking with other community leaders. Collaborate with our Development Chair and Board Member Liaisons to:

  • Identify and pursue opportunities for chapter growth
  • Make connections in the community to strengthen our volunteer base
  • Establish and steward partnerships with other community leaders, organizations, and businesses

Education Committee

AFSP offers a number of free education programs to the public to increase awareness and understanding of this complex health issue. Members of this committee will become trained to distribute educational materials and present our programs. We recommend joining one of our four subcommittees to get started by focusing on one aspect of education first. You are welcome to participate on multiple subcommittees as you gain experience.

  • Talk Saves Lives (TSL) Subcommittee: Present our introductory suicide prevention program and its specialty modules to a range of audiences aged 18+. 

  • More Than Sad (MTS) Subcommittee: Present this teen-specific program to adolescents aged 14-18, parents, and educators. Work with schools and youth-based programs to implement regular trainings. 

  • It's Real: College Students and Mental Health Subcommittee: Present to high school seniors and college students to encourage help-seeking with this unscripted documentary and facilitated discussion. Collaborate with schools and universities to incorporate this program into their curriculum.

  • Tabling Subcommittee:  Attend a variety of community and mental health fairs to share resources and information about our work.

Spring Event Planning Committees

Get involved planning some of our other annual chapter events, including our Golf Tournament and Hike for Hope. These committees convene between December/January and remain active through the springtime when both events take place. Get involved and help to:

  • Raise awareness and funds to serve our mission
  • Recruit event participants and sponsors
  • Manage event logistics
  • Organize Live & Silent Auctions at the Golf Tournament

Loss & Healing Committee

Support for survivors of suicide loss can make a big difference to those who are grieving. If you feel ready and wish to share your compassion and empathy with those who are navigating their grief journey after a suicide loss, the Loss & Healing (L&H) Committee needs you. L&H volunteers are active in planning meaningful events and activities for loss survivors, and reaching out into the community to share our resources after loss. As a member of this committee you may:

  • Help plan remembrance activities for our major community events (i.e. Out of the Darkness Walks, Hike for Hope, etc.)
  • Connect with relevant community partners to raise awareness about the resources available to loss survivors
  • Plan our annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss (ISOSL) Day events in the area
  • Facilitate small group discussions at our ISOSL Day events
  • Become a trained Healing Conversations volunteer to provide direct peer support to other survivors of loss

Project 2025 Committee

Get involved with our local efforts to support this national initiative to reduce the annual rate of suicide in the U.S. 20% by 2025. Learn more about Project 2025 and work with us on the four critical areas identified to save the most lives in the shortest amount of time:

  • Firearms
  • Large Healthcare Systems
  • Emergency Departments
  • Corrections Systems

Public Policy Committee

Advocates looking to engage in meaningful dialogue with others about suicide prevention can apply their passion to shape changes in policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Join this committee to:

  • Learn how to engage in advocacy (no prior experience is required!)
  • Recruit Field Advocates to take advantage of easy ways to weigh in on policy issues
  • Work with chapter and national leadership to identify advocacy opportunities at various levels of governance
  • Plan, coordinate, and attend the annual State Capitol Days in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Build and maintain relationships with community leaders and elected officials to update/enact policy to enhance suicide prevention

Steering Committee

We strive to build a strong volunteer community and need your help to welcome and support other volunteers! Work with our Volunteer Chair to create a positive volunteer experience through:

  • Direct outreach to recruit, welcome, onboard, and thank volunteers
  • Planning and coordination of events to recruit, onboard, and steward volunteers (i.e. new volunteer orientations, social events, appreciation events)
  • Oversight and communication of chapter volunteer opportunities to registered volunteers

Youth Engagement Committee

Unique to AFSP NCAC is this budding committee, aimed at expanding our outreach to youth through on-campus education and awareness events. Work with local youth and youth-based organizations to:

  • Grow existing relationships with local high school and college campuses
  • Establish new relationships with schools and youth-based organizations
  • Work with students, parents, and staff to bring resources, programs, and awareness events to their campus
  • Support students, parents, and staff hosting Out of the Darkness Campus Walks in the area
  • Work with other NCAC committees to facilitate the distribution of resources and implementation of programming to meet the needs of different youth-based organizations

Complete our online volunteer application to get started!

Still have questions about getting involved?

Contact our Volunteer Chair at afsp.ncac.volunteers@gmail.com 

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