Since Headquarters Counseling Center opened its doors in 1969, it has never closed -- not even for an hour.
And to help make sure the 24-hour Lawrence crisis counseling center stays open, Headquarters has planned a benefit bicycle ride Saturday to help raise money and awareness about its services.
"It takes a lot to do this work really well in terms of both volunteers and funding," said Marcia Epstein, center director. "And we are at the point where we really need additional volunteer counselors and funding."
The first Life Support Relay bicycle ride benefit will include a 6-mile fun ride for families and 12-mile, 34-mile and 50-mile routes for more experienced cyclists. The 34-mile route commemorates the 34 years the center has been open.
The center was started by Kansas University students as a drug counseling center but over the years came to offer a range of services. The center provides free counseling to anyone in need, including children's safety programs, suicide-prevention and crisis-response services. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day.
Jordinn Nelson, a training coordinator, said Headquarters relied on large numbers of volunteers to stay open.
"The fact that the organization has so many things that come from the volunteers is important," Nelson said. "People who volunteer here are empowered. People can become a part of our agency and really make a huge impact."
The center also has three full-time workers and five part-time employees. To keep the phone lines open full-time, the center relies on more than 80 volunteers. Last year the center responded to more than 14,000 counseling requests.
To keep offering the services, the agency needs money. Development director Wendy Leedy said an increase in the number of nonprofit agencies since 9-11 and a slump in the economy had made it tough for organizations to find funding.
Headquarters receives funding from the United Way and Kansas University activity fees, but the amount has decreased the past two years.
|Participants can register to ride Saturday morning at Sunflower School, 2521 Inverness Drive. Registration for the three longer routes is from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The $30 fee includes a water bottle, refreshments and a free T-shirt.Families can register together for the fun ride for $15 and will receive one water bottle and refreshments. Registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.For more information, call 841-2345 or visit www.hqcc.lawrence.ks.us.|