United Way 2-1-1 Employee Helped Speak Hope And Life Into A Caller’s Situation
At United Way 2-1-1, trained professionals provide referrals to health and human services throughout Missouri and Southwest Illinois. With a database of more than 30,000 programs and services across Missouri and Southwest Illinois, 2-1-1 is the leader in connecting people to vital community resources.
2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, every day, and it is staffed by knowledgeable specialists that help callers find free, fast and confidential help. The specialists are trained to move the caller from crisis to stability, leaving them better than they were at the beginning of the call or interaction.
When DJ started his career at United Way of Greater St. Louis, he started as a navigation specialist in the United Way 2-1-1 Call Center. During this time, DJ took a phone call from a young lady who seemed to have given up on life. She had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She told DJ that between the doctors’ visits and radiation treatments, she hadn’t been able to work as much as she liked, which caused her to fall behind on her bills.
Since January 2019, United Way 2-1-1 of Missouri and Illinois has received over 184,000 calls and many requests are for medical assistance. For example, 63% of medical expense assistance requests were unmet because of a lack of resources. Having trained professionals equipped to handle these calls and requests is a part of helping our neighbors in need find the best next step to take, even if resources are not readily available in all areas.
DJ talked to her on the phone for about a half hour. During this phone call, DJ referred her to the Community Action Agency and the local Society of St. Vincent de Paul, both with missions to serve those in their local community.
“I also spoke hope into her life and her situation,” DJ says. “By the end of the call, she was crying tears of joy instead of tears of despair.”
DJ describes how he heard in her voice that she needed someone to show her there is hope and light in all situations, even if it isn’t immediately noticeable. A couple of weeks after the original phone call, DJ followed up with her to check in. He heard joy and hope in her voice.
“She got the help she needed from the referral agencies, and she told me she was determined to beat cancer,” DJ says.
At United Way 2-1-1, no matter what the need is, no matter what the situation is, no matter what, United Way 2-1-1 is here to support each person and will continue contributing to a stronger community.