Contact of Mercer County Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline | CONTACT of Mercer’s Most Active Volunteer Named a 2020 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award Honoree
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CONTACT of Mercer’s Most Active Volunteer Named a 2020 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award Honoree

Michael Cilino of Hamilton Recognized for His Service, Commitment & Leadership 

(PENNINGTON, NJ, March 1, 2021 CONTACT of Mercer County, is a non-profit organization that provides crisis and suicide prevention telephone and online chat assistance for county residents, as well as daily telephone outreach services for local seniors. CONTACT proudly announces that volunteer instructor, and leader Michael Cilino of Hamilton Township was named a 2020 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award honoree under the category of “Volunteer Leadership.” The awards were recently handed out in a virtual ceremony online.

Jefferson Award honorees achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensation.

Michael, who has been with CONTACT for 12 years, is the non-profit’s most active volunteer, handling several important responsibilities for the organization. Some of these duties include serving as Director of Online Emotional Support, Support Worker, CrisisChat Trainer, and Apprentice Supervisor. He also serves as the CONTACT representative who works directly with volunteers assisting with difficult and critical chats—occasionally contacting emergency rescue services if a chatter is suicidal or in some type of immediate crisis.

“For me, even being considered for a nomination is humbling,” said Michael. “Volunteering for CONTACT is so rewarding because there are so many people who truly benefit from what we do. Many do not have access to mental health and crisis services due to financial or other reasons which are some of the many reasons why CONTACT is so critical.”

CONTACT of Mercer County Executive Director Eleanor Letcher said “Michael began volunteering 12 years ago as a trainee. Since that time, he has given more than 6,500 hours of his time serving as inspiration to many and for his example of leadership. Michael makes a significant impact as a trainer, supervisor, and mentor for the many volunteers who also dedicate their time administering what can often time be life-saving assistance for county residents.”

In addition to serving as a mentor and supervisor, Michael also serves as volunteer treasurer on CONTACT’S Board of Directors. He also helped create a CONTACT program at Princeton University in which students provide crisis phone and chat service for their peers.

“I think that CONTACT’S success comes from the basic skill of active listening,” said Michael. “People who use our services all have one common need and that is to be heard and I like to believe that we are fulfilling that need.”

To learn more about the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards, visit:

CONTACT of Mercer, Inc. was founded in 1975 and its mission is to provide free, compassionate, confidential telephone listening, online chat, and senior citizen outreach and referral services for people having an emotional or suicidal crisis, or just need someone to talk to. Professionally-trained local volunteers listen and chat with any individual 8 a.m.—10 p.m., seven days a week, CONTACT of Mercer County is a {501-c3 non-profit} organization.