MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Today we are going to take you behind the scenes of a place where volunteers are dedicated to helping no matter the day or time. And as CBS4's David Sutta shows us, there is one woman, in particular, making an incredible impact.
Trudy Krasovic has been helping people at their worst for 30 years. She says being a volunteer at the 2-1-1 Helpline has changed her life. The 2-1-1 Helpline was known as the Switchboard of Miami, which had been in operation since 1968 but financial troubles forced it to close down last year. Fortunately, the service was picked up by Jewish Community Services of North Miami with funding from the Children's Trust.
"The magic that occurs when you answer a call with somebody on the verge of suicide that tells you, I'm going to kill myself. This is it and by virtue of you listening with a third ear, what happens after that is incredible. And at the end of the call and the person says thank you for listening to me, I feel much better," said Krasovic.
Many of the volunteers working behind the scenes remain the same despite the switchboard change, starting with Krasovic, she's been helping people at their worst for 30 years.
"We empower people, we listen and they sort of discover themselves. Krasovic goes on to explain that one of the biggest reasons people reach out to the helpline is because they need human contact.
"People are missing human contact, no one wants to listen to me. We are always in a rush," said Krasovic.
Trudy says she started out as a volunteer after losing a friend to suicide.
"I was always intrigued about how people on a crisis line can convince someone on verge of suicide convince to not doing it," said Krasovic.
2-1-1 phone lines are open 24 hours a day with counselors available to speak in three different languages. They don't put a limit on the time they talk with a caller.
For many at helpline, Trudy is the matriarch, she trains new volunteers and now she's passing the baton to her mentee, Richard Shutes.
"You have no idea what she's done for me and a bunch of other people. And the impact she has had on the service," said Shutes.
"Listening to her experiences, her perspective on life, really resonated with me. I would take some things here and there and just so many good advice words of encouragement she's been working about 30 years and she has a lot of that knowledge," said Shutes.
Richard credits his mentor Trudy with influencing his work and helping him come out of his shell in earlier years. Now he's taken on more responsibility at the center and even become the face of the agency in the community. He never forgets who helped him get his start.
"Anything that she says turns to gold and it's really comforting to know that when I'm here or at home. I'm sure if I call at 2 in the morning she'll be there to listen to me and talk to me."
Trudy says she doesn't consider herself a mentor she says she just likes to share.
"When I mentor, if you can say mentor, I share my experience but it's interesting to see the potential people have. It's an honor, one I don't think I deserve but it's an honor. If somebody feels that I'm mentoring, I'm sharing."
Jewish community services 2-1-1 helpline is also a great way to connect for information or referrals for various types of social services. https://jcsfl.org/
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