In January, All-Options unveiled four strategic new initiatives aimed at building a world where compassion and reproductive justice are the norm. 2019 has seen the launch of our All-Options Activist Squad, the release of our All-Options Toolkit, and two new virtual opportunities that are training more people in our innovative approach: our new virtual Talkline cohort and online trainings through our Pregnancy Options Workshops program. Having just wrapped up our first training sessions for each, we wanted to reflect on the experiences and share our recaps with you!
Virtual Talkline Cohort Training
Expanding coverage on our Talkline, so that we can reach more callers seeking pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption support, has been at the forefront of our work at All-Options since we first began as Backline in 2004. In 2019 – our 15th year! – we’ve taken accessibility of the Talkline to another level, by recruiting and training our first virtual cohort of advocates across the country!
This spring, 14 new trainees spent a total of 40 hours in virtual classrooms and individual coursework, preparing to become All-Options Talkline Advocates. Led by All-Options National Programs Manager, Paulina Guerrero, and Deputy Director, Poonam Dreyfus-Pai, this newest cohort of advocates learned peer counseling strategies and practices alongside our all-options approach to provide judgment-free support across the full spectrum of pregnancy experiences. At the end of our 6-week training, 14 new advocates joined our ranks!
Growing our Talkline advocate community by over 40% means a number of exciting changes. With increased capacity to answer more calls, we’re able to provide more consistent coverage, expand our Spanish speaking services, and be more available to callers in different time zones. And by recruiting virtual advocates from across the country, we’re also able to build a more diverse advocate community, expanding representation on the Talkline across race, gender, sexuality, age, language, and reproductive experiences!
Our newest advocates are up and running on the Talkline already and we couldn’t be more pleased to have this group onboard. As Paulina notes, they “brought an incredible amount of openness, breadth of experiences, and courage to our sessions. It is so uplifting, in these particular times, to work with such dedicated, thoughtful, and empathetic individuals. We may be in a movement that gets hit pretty hard by opposition, but this group proves we have the resolve and the love in our hearts to move through it and continue providing support and help to others.”
Our next virtual Talkline training will take place 9/24-10/31. Virtual classrooms are every Tuesday and Thursday evenings, time TBD. Applications will be open in Summer 2019, keep an eye out for announcements in our newsletter and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Virtual POW Training
“The training helped stretch my own point of view and provided me with tools that I have already started using in my options counseling.” – Virtual POW participant
For more than a decade, All-Options has offered trainings on pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption, values clarification, and nonjudgmental options counseling to a wide range of healthcare and social service providers, advocates, educators, and just about anyone who’s curious about supporting pregnant people with respect and without bias or judgment. But in 2019, we introduced a new initiative to take our Pregnancy Options Workshops (POW) program to a whole new level and offer them online!
Over the past 6 weeks, our first group of online POW participants – 23 in total! – became trained in our All-Options approach to support people through all kinds of experiences and decisions with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. Through weekly 90-minute meetings, our trainees explored values and biases related to pregnancy and pregnancy options, learned new counseling skills and role-played using them, covered how to make quality reproductive health care referrals, and had informative and deep conversations with guest speakers from an abortion clinic and an ethical adoption agency.
Before taking our POWs online, we were limited in who we could reach with our trainings, often being limited to in-person conference sessions or places close to where All-Options staff are already located. By offering our POWs virtually, we’re making them accessible to everyone, regardless of location or time zone, and ensuring that All-Options is a greater resource for more people!
Our next online POW training will take place July 23rd-August 27th, Tuesdays from 1-2:30pm PT/3-4:30pm CT/4-5:30pm ET. POW trainings are approved for CEUs by the National Association of Social Workers and the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Keep an eye on our emails and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more details!