“Child Line” is an emotional support service for children and adolescents established in 1997, providing free and anonymous assistance via phone and the internet. This assistance is primarily provided by volunteers who undergo training and then commit to the organisation for several months.
However, in recent years, especially after the pandemic, the “Child Line” has noticed a significant decrease in the engagement of new volunteers. Elvyra Vilkienė explains, “Volunteering in ‘Child Line’ demands for commitment it is long-term and requires both time and intellectual resources. Therefore, we face the challenge that there are not as many new volunteers willing to dedicate time to training and then to being on call.”
The “Child Line” is one of the non-governmental organizations that participated in the Active Citizens Fund in Lithuania. This Fund supported human rights, citizenship, and community projects through the EEA Financial Mechanism. The funds received helped the organization attract new volunteers and motivate those already involved but also allocated funds for high-quality training.
Currently, over 400 volunteer consultants provide assistance to children and adolescents at the “Child Line,” handling over 300 calls per day. Assistance is offered not only by phone but also through the internet, including messaging and emails.
“I saw the ‘Child Line’ advertisement several times, and I took it for a sign ,” says Dangira, who started volunteering for the “Child Line.” Hundreds like Dangira joined the ranks of volunteers in recent years to ensure that every call for help from a child receives a response and every message gets a reply.
The team at the “Child Line” did everything they could to succeed because the decreasing number of volunteers after the pandemic was a genuine concern. The funds from the EEA and Norway Financial Mechanism provided strong financial support for various non-governmental organization projects in Lithuania in recent years.
Nearly 200 similar projects have been implemented in Lithuania over the past four years, with some, like the “Child Line” or the specifically created volunteer platform www.savaplatforma.lt, focused specifically on promoting volunteering.
As part of the project, the “Children’s Line” implemented an information campaign, organized meetings in Panevėžys, Šiauliai, and Alytus to introduce people to the organization’s activities and attract new volunteers capable of providing assistance to children and adolescents through online conversations. Attention was also given to events, live meetings with existing “Children’s Line” volunteers, and the creation of an online library for them.