Phone calls, including long distance calls, can be made from the CSS desk. You can’t help overhearing snatches of conversation. You can only hear one side, but like a Bob Newhart comedy sketch, you can often fill in the rest. Sitting at the CSS desk listening to a 6’ street kid on the phone telling his grandma that he loves her is a touching moment. Then another kid calls his Mom long distance. His mother refuses to talk to him and you have to look away.
“Is it OK if I come home?” asks another kid of his mother?............. “Why do you want to know how long I’m gonna stay?............. Mum, I already apologized for that! …………I promise I’ll only stay for half an hour to get some stuff. .……….No, I don’t want any money!” The call ends when he slams the phone down, and storms out. A staff member follows him down the stairs.
Another kid agonizes over calling his boss. We chat and I tell him to just do it. After days of imagining the worst, his boss completely understood (or just forgave!) – a lesson learned in “grasping the nettle.”
“Pick up the phone Mum, I know you are there. I actually have some good news this time. I have a place of my own……… I’m in rehab………….. I’m at Covey to get some clothes………… Can I come to see you?”.................. She cursed and slammed the phone down. Again, I looked away, and staff stepped in to deal with the anger and tears.
Having someone around when you need to make a decision is also invaluable, and I guess that is one of the many things that make the Drop-In so effective. Usually that person is a staff member, but occasionally it makes sense for that person to be a volunteer. And when it does make sense it provides a moment that the volunteer will treasure.