14 Sep CONTACT OF MERCER COUNTY VOLUNTEER AND TRAINER NAMED A 2021 N.J. GOVERNOR’S JEFFERSON AWARD MEDALIST
Forty-Year CONTACT volunteer Jo-Ann Hoffman Recognized for Her Service, Commitment, and Leadership
(PENNINGTON), NJ, September 14, 2021—CONTACT of Mercer County proudly announced that Jo-Ann Hoffman of Hamilton Township—a CONTACT crisis hotline volunteer, organization Board Member, and volunteer trainer is a 2021 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award medal recipient. An award ceremony was held Sunday at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton.
Jefferson Award honorees achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensation. Jo-Ann was selected among hundreds of other nominees. Her achievement was in the category of “Extraordinary Volunteer/Public Service.”
CONTACT of Mercer County Executive Director Eleanor Letcher said, “Jo-Ann has been with CONTACT for more than 40 wonderful years. Through her knowledge, patience, professionalism, and passion, she has trained countless volunteers, many of whom have been local college students, while serving as a leader and inspiration to many throughout the entire organization.”
“Jo-Ann makes a significant impact as a volunteer, trainer, supervisor, and mentor for the many volunteers who also dedicate their time administering what can often time be life-saving assistance for those suffering from a crisis or contemplating suicide,” said CONTACT Board of Directors President Michael Rovder. “Congratulations on behalf of CONTACT’s Board of Directors for a job well done.”
Jo-Ann said, “My entire life has been all about learning new and different things, contributing, experiencing, and helping others. I learned about why volunteerism is so important from my entire family. While I am deeply touched by this recognition, I feel that the most significant message is about sharing and helping others, and this is what gives me a reason to get up each morning.”
As a volunteer for CONTACT, Jo-Ann answers telephone hotline calls from people who are in crisis and/or considering suicide. She also trains volunteers who are enrolled in CONTACT’s 10-week training course where they learn how to handle telephone calls on the organization’s local crisis hotline and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Since the COVID-19 pandemic first began, CONTACT has been instructing new volunteers via ZOOM conference. Jo-Ann is also a certified instructor for the ASIST program (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and a certified instructor with the national Mental Health First Aid program.
In addition to serving as an integral part of CONTACT, Jo-Ann is a Professor Emeritus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, serves as a Chaplain Assistant at RWJ University Hospital Hamilton, and is a Trustee for the St. Raphael Holy Angels parish community.
In her spare time, Jo-Ann enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, gardening, traveling, cooking, and going to the theatre.
For 45 years, CONTACT of Mercer County, Inc. has been fulfilling a critical mission throughout the Greater Mercer County Region by listening and providing free, non-judgmental, emotional support, strength, and compassion to people in crisis through its telephone lifeline and online CrisisChat. CONTACT helps empower individuals as they seek to develop a strong sense of well-being and desire to live. Volunteers also speak with individuals in crisis who call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Through CONTACT’s REASSURANCE program, registered senior citizens are telephoned daily by volunteers who check on their wellbeing and offer someone for seniors to speak to. In 2020, amid a global pandemic, CONTACT volunteers handled 2,072 crisis/suicide phone calls and 2,319 CrisisChat conversations. Trained local volunteers listen and chat with any individual 9 a.m.— 9 p.m., seven days a week. CONTACT of Mercer County, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.