The Listening Ear is the nation’s oldest all-volunteer crisis center.
It 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 500,000 hours of volunteer time and service provided to the community over the last 34 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.