Southwestern Assemblies of God University hosts HopeLine call centerWaxahachie, TXDecember 7, 2011Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) psychology students are participating in SAGU’s HopeLine Crisis Call Center through Dawson McAllister Live Radio show (DMLive).

TheHopeLine is a 24-hour crisis hotline featured through Dawson McAllister’s live radio show. The program is syndicated on both Christian and non-Christian stations. This year, TheHopeLine will receive over 75,000 calls and chats from teens and young adults who are desperately seeking answers to their problems. Approximately 50 percent of calls are on Sunday during the live radio program.

In September 2011, Manager of the Dallas HopeLine Greg Wilson asked SAGU’s Psychology department head Robert Mapes to consider developing a national call center on the SAGU campus. “It’s a ministry opportunity we had been searching for," says Mapes. “It’s perfect for our department."

Participating SAGU students are trained through Professor Jeff Logue’s Crisis Intervention course, as well as through DMLive. Logue believes that the experience will play a key factor in future employment for students.

“The training received through DMLive is consistent with some of the training received to become a licensed counselor,” says Logue. "Students are taught how to listen and what to listen for. They are also taught how to file reports with Child Protective Services.”

Since the beginning of this semester, Logue’s Crisis Intervention students have had 100 chat interactions on TheHopeLine and logged approximately 40 hours of time talking to teens and young adults. Several students have mentioned how meaningful their experience has been to them.

SAGU student Robert Cenzano stated, “It’s a big responsibility knowing that we may be talking someone out of a life-threatening situation. However, it’s a great opportunity to practice outside of the classroom.”

“Currently, we have a handful of students that have completed training and are taking live calls or chats,” says Logue. One of SAGU’s computer labs has been devoted to answering HopeLine calls in the Sheaffer Full Life Center. The department receives calls from 9 p.m. Sunday evenings to 3 a.m. Monday morning.

Forty-three SAGU students are in training to become “Hope coaches”. Logue sees the program becoming a standard assignment in his Crisis Intervention course. “On an undergraduate level, I would like for my students to have real life experience in their field."

SAGU senior Amanda Harvey has had life changing experiences while working with TheHopeLine. Thus far, she has had three conversations with suicidal young adults. In one conversation, she spoke with a young woman for three hours who had been sexually abused by her father for years. It took the young woman an hour to share why she was suicidal.

“This experience has really stretched me,” says Harvey. "I have learned things that a book could never teach me.”

Harvey spoke with another young lady who had never heard about Jesus. After being prayed for, she asked Harvey why no one had ever told her about Christ until now.

“Counseling is all about touching lives and changing people. SAGU students have an opportunity to be like Jesus through internet chat or a phone call,” says Logue. "I’m so proud of the courage, integrity and compassion our students have shown.”

For more information on The HopeLine and DMLive radio show, visit www.thehopeline.com.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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