The Listening Ear was founded on July 15, 1969 as a culmination of efforts between Michigan State University students, faculty and community residents. These individuals banded together in the hopes of doing something constructive in light of the unrest caused by the Vietnam War. It was decided that if 1,000 calls were received in the first three months, they would remain open. An astounding 1,500 calls came in the first month and the center has remained open ever since.
This adds up to more than 1,000,000 hours of volunteer time and service provided to the community over the last 50 years. The Listening Ear strives to improve the quality of life in the community by providing 24 hour, anonymous, confidential crisis intervention and referral services free of charge to both telephone and drop-in clients. Most clients of the Listening Ear are from the Lansing/East Lansing vicinity, but there are no residency requirements to receive crisis services. Our organization receives calls from men, women, and youth of all ages who are experiencing crises, which we define as any situation in which a person’s normal coping mechanisms are unable to handle the situation.
We have included here some of our more recent or updated policies. It is not a complete list, we are in the process of adding more information to our site and will include our full list of policies and procedures in the near future. Specific questions about The Listening Ear’s full policies and procedures can be directed to our email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Check Policy and Procedure
The Listening Ear Crisis Intervention Center will conduct background checks on all applicants. Additionally, background checks will be completed annually on all current volunteers. Individuals listed on the sexual offender registry will be excluded from any participation at the Listening Ear.
Any current or future staff member whose background check reveals conviction(s) of felony or misdemeanors including, but not limited to embezzlement, fraud, assault of a violent or sexual nature, stalking, domestic violence, and violent misdemeanors will be reviewed by the Background Review Committee, (BRC), to determine whether or not they are eligible to volunteer.
By consensus decision, a member of the Board of Directors, an at-large member of the volunteer staff, and the SAC Professional Consultant will compose the Background Review Committee. They will run and review potential trainee’s background checks. For those individuals whose background check reveals criminal behavior, the following considerations will be discussed to determine the appropriateness of that individual’s participation as a volunteer at The Listening Ear:
The Board of Directors representative will be responsible for reporting to the Board of Directors the aggregate results of work done by the committee.
After initial background checks are performed, annual background checks will be run on all volunteer staff on the anniversary of their acceptance on staff by the Background Check Committee.
All background check results will be maintained in a secure, limited access site at the Listening Ear.
The Listening Ear FoundedThe Listening Ear opened its doors at 5471⁄2 East Grand River on July 15, 1969. The first training session was designed by Dr. Dozier Thornton, a psychology professor from Michigan State University. The program ran for 40 hours (this quickly grew into the 65+ hour training of today).
Sexual Assault Program CreatedIn July 1976, The Rape Counseling program, was established, providing free, short-term counseling to sexual assault survivors as well as advocacy and community education.
Recognized with National AwardOn April 13, 1990, The Listening Ear was named the 113th of 1000 Points of Light for its "Outstanding efforts in behalf of [the] community" by President George H. W. Bush.
East Lansing's Crystal Award
The Crystal Awards, hosted annually by the East Lansing City Council, honor individuals, businesses, professionals, nonprofits and community groups that have made an outstanding contribution to community life in East Lansing
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