It can be difficult and overwhelming for our callers to reach out to us and ask for help. It can also be difficult for our navigators to show up and be so present for our clients like they always do. We are so grateful to each of our 211 team members who take calls and connect with individuals, often when those clients are having the worst days of their lives. Compassion fatigue is real, and our 211 staff do an amazing job at supporting each other and helping to remind us why it is we do the work we do. This month we asked everyone at the Mile High United Way 211 call center in Denver what 211 calls means to them!

Answering 211 calls means that I am the superhero that swoops in to save the day, week, or month to assist our callers and gives them the hope that they need.

Answering 211 calls makes me feel full of happiness helping out the community especially when it was the last resource they had, and we give them more hope!

I would say answering 211 calls means guiding people towards their own solutions. Empowering individuals or families to take a breath in sometimes very difficult situations and guide them forward. It can be very hard to ask for help, so us getting these calls means the first step for some people.

To me, being able to answer calls and help someone in need is so huge. I can be the person to lend an ear if someone needs to vent, I can be the one to offer ideas and strategies that they haven’t thought of in order to help them get through their situation, I can be the small light in their time of darkness and hopelessness. I get to be the one to help someone feel hopeful again. I love that I get to listen and know people in their times of need. Knowing they are seeking us on the other side of the phone makes me feel important and honored to help. I don’t take calls as often as I used to but when I do, it brings me back to the passion I have for being here and making a difference in people’s lives.

Answering calls for 211 for me means I am not just answering a call, I am responding to a needed in the community. I am able to provide hope, and reassurance for that person on the other line. I once called our 211 center when I needed help, when I called a 211 Navigator answered my call with empathy and supported me with information on resources I didn’t know of. I am now able to be a 211 hero myself and support our community during hard times with resources and information. At times we might not have a resource to help but providing the caller with a listening ear and empathy is what matters most to them during hard times.

Answering 211 calls means to me would be helping someone in need, and turning someone’s bad day into a good day, and trying to make them less stressed.

When I take 211 calls, I like knowing that I’m providing hope to those in dire need of help. Hearing a call from beginning to end really shows how compassion can come a long way in changing a caller’s mood from scared to hopeful.

Answering 211 calls to me means I can try to help people. I can provide them with the resources they need, or information they need. It is not always guaranteed we have what they are looking for, but we actively try to help them anyways.

Answering 211 Calls means to me:
Care, Compassion, Kindness
Life changing, selflessness
Gratefulness and Love.
I just open my ears and my heart.
It’s an amazing feeling!

Answering calls at 211 is sharing that special light that I have inside I truly believe that this is not just a job to help the community it has to come from within you. That light comes naturally because it lives inside, I love to use my light to support and provide as much as I can. No better feeling than knowing you help someone, and even if the database has no resources, you heard that caller’s needs and, made them feel heard.

Taking calls for 211 is about providing options, knowledge, and hope.

Answering 211 calls means to me that a community member has someone to talk to and knows there is someone listening to them. It means that someone can call in and talk to a member of an incredibly empathetic team member who wants to find help and resources for them, no matter what situation they are in.

Answering 211 calls to me means you put aside your own biases and problems to be present and help the individual. It means hard work every day for an altruistic purpose. It means that I am trying to make the State just a little bit better one call at a time.

I feel like when I answer 2-1-1 calls I can give callers a little bit of hope, we have to make it very clear to callers that we are just a resource and referral line, but even then, most callers are happy to have someone listen to them and at least try to help them.

Answering 211 calls to me means that I make an impact in a good way to numerous members of Colorado’s community. To people’s lives that I would never in a million years crossed in a normal setting.

I would start with answering that question with the first thing that came to mind and a mantra I live by which is a quote from Mother Teresa, “A life not lived for
others is not a life.” All I have truly known in my life for certain is that I wanted to help people, even as far back as I can remember as a child. Of course, back then I didn’t necessarily know how I would do that, but I knew what I wanted to do… make the world a better place through helping others, and I believe I have found that in 211. I am
grateful for everything in my life and all the experiences I have lived and opportunities that I have received that have guided and helped me to stand where I am today – leading 211 is by far my proudest moment and I am grateful to be a part of this work every day… When I look out of our 211 office window and see an entire block of people living in tents and struggling to make needs meet… when I meet a family through our 211 walk-in service center who has traveled on foot for 8 months from Venezuela in search of a safe place to call home and has turned to us for help, and when I answer one of the thousands of calls we receive to help someone connect to food, shelter, or just what they need to make ends meet this month I know that I am where I belong and doing what is true to me, which is serving others and making a difference in the lives of those that need it most. I will leave this question posed with one last quote by Nelson Henderson, which I also try my best to live by through service to others and I believe explains what we do in 211 in a nutshell pretty well, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Answering 211 calls means offering a hand to someone needing help up. It provides possible solutions in a manner that allows the person needing our help to realize that they are in charge of their next steps and making the decisions that will see them through this rough patch they’re experiencing. When someone is going through a traumatic event or time in their life, feeling like they’ve been tossed aside to deal with it on their own, they need someone to point them toward the light at the end of the tunnel. 211 is the lighthouse showing them their way back to shore.

It really is my greatest honor and privilege to be the executive team member supporting the 211 program. I say support (and not oversee or supervise) very intentionally – for me it’s about where and how I can advocate as much as possible for our 211 team that is doing what I think is the heart and soul of this organization’s work in
the community. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

What Does 211 Mean To You?

From the 211 Staff at Mile High United Way

An SRDA 211 Post

A PPUW 211 Post