T.H.R.I.V.E. is Trans-led and operated. Our backgrounds include familial rejection due to our identities, homelessness, poverty, and working multiple jobs before being able to access and/or while accessing education. THRIVE Lifeline is a grassroots response to COVID-19, organized by experienced crisis managers who personally understand the significance of displacement, isolation, and financial loss, especially for marginalized individuals in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
In early March 2020, students and scientists around the US became displaced from their universities and labs, as campuses shut down and turned to online education amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Two months later, the experiences of deepening and ongoing trauma as a result of police brutality, the loss of Black lives, and the effects of systemic racism and injustice in the United States culminated in nationwide protests and previously-lacking media coverage.
Amid crises of this scale, many marginalized individuals face greater personal crises, including being sent to unsupportive and/or dangerous home environments, greater health risks, job, food, and home insecurity, and the inability to access what may be their only safe community.
Recognizing the particular vulnerabilities within our communities and the breadth of needs at this time, THRIVE Lifeline began as a grassroots crisis text line that caters to marginalized people in STEM, or STEM-adjacent, but remains accessible to all who need it.
In three months, with no paid advertising, THRIVE hosted 350 interactions with students, professionals, and individuals from every walk of life who were referred to us by people who care about them. We began with a team of 9 volunteers and we fielded those initial interactions from 4 different countries, across 6 time zones, operating almost 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Our interactions range from general identity-based support to acute crisis intervention. Despite responders living scattered across the US, we managed this level of response from a single burner phone and a personal SMS-mirroring app.
Interviews with Crisis Responders at the two-month mark indicated that, for them, supporting this crisis line was the single-most impactful response directed at the service of people who are at the intersections of marginalized identities and STEM.
As stay-at-home orders began lifting and volunteer hours were reduced, we faced the potential of having to drastically reduce the provision of this vital resource. Our primary concern is sustaining judgment-free, personalized response from empathetic Crisis Responders who 'get' what our texters are going through. Larger scale volunteer recruitment and fundraising campaigns began as a means of making THRIVE Lifeline an ongoing and vital resource for our communities.
This is where you come in! We plan an initial up-scaling that will happen in 2 phases:
--Phase 1: Train 20 suicide interveners; Train 40+ suicide-alert crisis responders; Establish infrastructure; Develop resources for this increased volunteer community; Attain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
--Phase 2: Partner with STEM organizations to advertise this line to a greater number of individuals who need support; Offer crisis management and training as a DEI resource.
In order to complete Phase 1, we need:
$25,000 to purchase and integrate an SMS messaging application; Develop: THRIVE website, and web resources
$20,000 for high quality suicide intervention training of new volunteers,
$15,000 for data analysis and resource development that will target the training of our suicide-alert crisis responders
Thank you for your commitment during this very crucial time as we continue to provide support to our underserved communities.
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