Help ▪ Hope ▪ Healing
TheHopeLine® is the off-air “let’s talk” branch of the Dawson McAllister Network where teenagers and young adults can connect with TheHopeLine® and speak with a trained HopeCoach through instant message chat about whatever challenges they are facing.
After more than 1 million one-on-one conversations, after thousands of abuse reports and suicide interventions, after dealing with eating disorders, cutting, and substance abuse, and after speaking truth over every kind of spiritual confusion and dysfunction imaginable, the Dawson McAllister Association, founder of TheHopeLine®(2001), has demonstrated a deep and special commitment to pulling teenagers and young adults out of harm’s way.
The Birth of TheHopeLine®
Two major endeavors had their birth in 1991. In January it was the launch of the Christian radio show.
A call-in talk radio show for teenagers was a radical idea at the time, but it began to work almost instantly. Stations were being added quickly and more and more teenagers were calling in every week.
But after a few months it became painfully clear that for many, a 5 minute on-air conversation was not nearly enough. Their problems were often deep and painful. Dawson realized that the show needed a “back-end,” a place for personal follow-up with each call.
October was the landmark month when Dawson began inviting listeners to call in to the new off-air, “let’s talk” TheHopeLine®.
In those days the hours were limited. And it was telephones only. No chat, no computers or databases, no call center technology; not even a website. Just a toll-free number (1-800-394-HOPE), and a handful of dedicated folks who were committed to listening, to straight talk and to sharing love and compassion.
In 2005, we began opening Satellite TheHopeLine® Coaching Centers — Dawson’s brand-new Top 40 radio show changed the dynamic. As stations began to sign on, the choice was made to distribute TheHopeLine® in more locations. Because HopeCoaches had to operate out of a central call center, this would create more regional identification and a larger pool of potential volunteers from which to recruit. From 2005- 2008, new regional centers opened in Oklahoma City, OK, Sioux Falls, SD, Harrisburg, PA, and Minneapolis, MN.
2009 — The satellite call center strategy expanded to include student HopeCoaches operating on select Christian College Campuses. Since its inception, 6 colleges opened or continue to operate a student staffed HopeLine coaching center including, Liberty University, Lancaster Bible College, Ohio Christian University, Dordt College, Colorado Christian University, and Union University.
2013 — Growing the availability, capacity and quality of TheHopeLine has been a constant goal. In 2008 it only operated 37 hours per week. By 2012 that had grown to 124 hours per week. And by 2013 a very important goal was finally reached: 24/7 operation. That is 168 hours of rescue each week!
2015 — From its’ founding in 1991 until 2010, TheHopeLine® operated primarily on a volunteer HopeCoach model. But in the last five years a clear trend has become visible … interactions have gotten harder, darker in content, and more resistant to spiritual conversations.
At the same time, we realized that a volunteer model could not dependably sustain our expansion to 24/7 service. The need to have highly trained, very experienced and dependable HopeCoaches on a regular schedule became very clear.
Early in 2014, informed by these growing challenges, we began the transition to a primarily paid HopeCoach model. Training became more regular and in-depth; process, procedures and standards could be consistently enforced. The passion and drive of this very special team could now be cultivated and nurtured.
DMA’S RESCUE Today
Today, we continue on our rescue mission — growing, expanding, meeting needs, and saving lives. More hurting young people than ever before are turning to us for help and hope. And it’s working:
• TheHopeLine® One-on-one interactions: 51,567 (up 50% from 2014)
• Suicide Interventions: 4,636 in 2015 (up 44% from 2014)
• International Chats (100 different countries): 3,292 in 2015 (up 44% from 2014)
• Complete Gospel Presentations: 6,829 in 2015
• Website Visits (www.TheHopeLine.com): 3,585,010 in 2015 (up 570% from 2014)
The Future of TheHopeLine®
Rescuing kids in crisis is personal, intense, and messy, but there are millions who need to hear that they are loved, they can make better choices, and their lives can change. We have learned how to do it effectively … and we continue to grow in expertise. Every day, 24/7, we are meeting young people at the point of their need, one-on-one, even those in far flung countries around the world.
A chatter from Australia wrote, “Last night I spoke on live chat with one of the people here and after we finished I started feeling better, I see hope. I got up and shaved, and put on a fresh shirt and today even went to get something to eat. I feel much better and I know its not much but I would like to donate something as I know you have helped me when I was in the dark hole. I know I’m not cured but I see hope, and I’m sure it was because of that chat and prayer I received! And who knows, maybe I am worth saving after all.”
Our goal for TheHopeLine® is to continue to increase the number of interactions with teenagers and young adults and meet the needs of the hopeless and hurting.