Category: Volunteer Leadership
Nominator: Eleanor Letcher 

What was their service?

Jo-Ann is actively involved in Suicide Prevention, especially important during the isolation of Covid 19.  She is a Crisis Responder for CONTACT’S Crisis HOTLINE, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and LifeLine Crisis Chat.  She is also a volunteer ASIST Trainer:  Applied Suicide Intervention Training and a MHFA volunteer trainer.:  Mental Health First Aid.  She has volunteered at CONTACT over 3000 hours for 40 years, since 1980.  She is also a volunteer trainer of new volunteers and an Apprenticeship Mentor for new volunteers, most of whom are students at Princeton Univ. and TCNJ.  She also serves on the training committee.

What motivated them to serve/volunteer? 

Jo-Ann is an educator  and retired professor at Rutgers University.  She loves working with young people especially.  Her motivation is a sincere lifetime desire to help other people,  At CONTACT her life experience and listening skills enhance her volunteer service.  Callers and Chat Visitors are struggling with a myriad of problems, and Jo-Ann is there to help.  Additionally, her Catholic  faith plays a big motivational role in her desire to serve others..

What did they achieve/how did they make a difference? 

Jo-Ann Hoffman is a woman of many talents, interests and commitments. In her 40 years as a CONTACT Volunteer Trainer, she has trained hundreds of people in suicide prevention, crisis response and active listening, enabling them to answer calls and chats on CONTACT’S HOTLINES.  She has answered thousands of HOTLINE Calls and Chats, from people seeking a listening ear, referrals and someone to take them seriously and compassionately.  She has relieved loneliness and enhance callers desire to live.  When more help was needed for some callers, she has saved lives which might have been lost.  Jo-Ann initiated rescues for suicidal callers/chatters in imminent risk.

 Jo-Ann has made a difference in our community.  For years Jo-Ann has volunteered as a Cantor for her church where she has “adopted” children and families.  She is ready with cards, encouragements and gifts as her church families progress each year, especially for the children.

During retirement, she began volunteering for a local hospital chaplaincy program, and shortly thereafter decided that she would take the years of additional education to become a Hospital Chaplain.  She worked through many courses, graduated, and now serves part-time as a Hospital Chaplain, also serving as a trainer for new chaplaincy volunteers.  

Jo-Ann continues to make a positive difference to both organizations and individuals in our community, because she displays commitment.  If she says she will do something to help, SHE WILL Do It.  Knowing that Jo-Ann is so faithful and can be counted on for support is a tremendous help to CONTACT of Mercer County, NJ and to her other volunteer groups, friends and associates.  She definitely deserves the Jefferson Award for her lifetime of volunteering and doing good work.  

Jo-Ann Hoffman’s life is centered on Helping Others!