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Updated: Jun 2, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, staff here at OIM were signed up to attend a two-day weekend training session, the feeling of management being that the more equipped we are to come alongside our friends, the better.

Our frontline volunteers were also invited to attend. It was a weekend in which the weather was just starting to turn. Gardening plans and picnics and cottage re-openings no doubt had to be set aside for these two days. I can imagine that enthusiasm for the training was mixed, at best.

With the exception of one who was forced to isolate for those two days, all staff resigned themselves to the prospect of a tedious two days. Four volunteers also stepped forward.

What followed was a truly amazing two days of teaching, connection, laughter and tears. The general consensus amongst us was that while the subject matter was not pleasant, the time together and lessons learned were priceless. No question, suicide intervention is not a fun topic, but with the brilliant leadership of our two instructors, Jennifer and Breanna, we were all able to leave our Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) with certificates.

More than the value of my certificate, I came out of the weekend with a renewed sense of admiration for the OIM team and everyone’s profound dedication to justice, community and hope – the three pillars of OIM’s mission. The role-playing exercises spoke volumes about empathy with those possibly struggling with thoughts of hopelessness and loss. The practice drills – that meant taking on the risk of embarrassment and self-doubt – spoke to courage and determination to offer real help.

There have been a few instances since the training when interventions – or discussion about the need for intervention - have come up. The teachings of our most excellent trainers and the hearts of OIM’s staff and volunteers are already making a difference. Thank you, Jennifer and Breanna!

~Margo, Managing Director

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