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Behind the Scenes at ConnecTeen

Author: Jace

Have you ever wonder what it’s like to be a ConnecTeener? You’re not alone.  I know I was unsure of what it would be like before I became a volunteer. I hope that by sharing my story I might be able to shed some light on the experience and alleviate any hesitations you may have.

Before I had learned about ConnecTeen I had always wanted to do something in my community, to make a difference.  But nothing was quite right.  I could never see an opportunity to give back that was meaningful, rewarding and that I would actually enjoy.  Until I found Connecteen.

Obviously I had fears and doubts at first, it’s no easy job and a big responsibility to take on but I took that risk and I’ve never once regretted it.  The thing is that with ConnecTeen I’ve always felt so supported. I can’t say I’ve ever faced a tough situation at Distress Centre without having been prepared and had all the tools I needed at my fingertips.

As hard as it may seem to be a crisis volunteer, you’re never alone!

That’s the beauty of it.  By challenging myself, working together with staff and other volunteers and sometimes making mistakes but learning from them, my skills and abilities have grown unbelievably!  I’ve learned things like communication and empathy, working through tough situations with people, accepting others and seeing beyond certain traits and I’ve gained an improved confidence, all of which I use in my everyday life.

On top all that, the friendships I’ve made and people I’ve met, whether staff or volunteer, are so special to me.

The positivity, encouragement and praise that happens between everybody at the Distress centre is amazing!

We all have something to give and something to learn which makes each shift new, interesting and a chance to better yourself and your abilities. As I’ve done my part at Distress Centre it’s crazy how much I feel appreciated! I get noticed for just the small things I do and I’m always getting encouraged no matter what. Everyone gets included and they go above and beyond to show appreciation to volunteers.  It makes me feel so special to do what I do.

But the most amazing part of working with ConnecTeen is talking with the youth who contact us.  The perspective and experience I gain with each shift have helped me to grow as a person and look at the world with a newfound openness and non-judgment. I learn so much from each person, their story and their attitude in that moment. I often find myself so inspired by the resiliency, confidence and perseverance shown by these teens dealing with so much. And even with all their struggles I receive frequent thanks and praise from callers, texters or chatters for what I do. It’s incredible!

The perspective and experience I gain with each shift have helped me to grow as a person and look at the world with a newfound openness and non-judgment.

But if there’s one thing I’d have to say was the most rewarding part of working with ConnecTeen, it would have to be being there, in that moment, with a teenager dealing with life, and just listening.

ConnecTeen gives me the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. How lucky am I to be able to do that?!

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