When did you start volunteering? I began volunteering in July of 2006.
What made you want to get involved with this agency? I had recently left a go-no place job, and was looking for something more rewarding to do: Something that would not only help others, but something that would help me feel needed and as if I had a purpose in life. I did not, at the time, need to work, and so one day I heard a PSA for Contact, remembered them having helped me long ago, and decided to give it a try.
What have you found to be your greatest strength(s)? I find that the fact that at one time or another I have found myself in many of the same situations our callers and the reassurance clients find themselves in makes it easier for me to know from where they are coming, and to help them with whatever need they have much better. I also find that my disability gives me an edge because I am able to understand on a more personal level when people speak to me about things they’re unable to do as a result of their own disabilities. I find that callers are actually put at ease by the fact that I at times explain to them my own situation, and give them options they themselves had not thought of, as a result of being overwhelmed.
What keeps you coming back each week? There have been many times when I have actually asked myself this same question. I sometimes feel as if I just cannot take not one more call, or speak to one more person who may or may not truly need our help. Then I get a call where there is a true need, one that can be proven without a shadow of a doubt, and I am able to help them. It is those times that keep me coming back, taking shifts, and answering and making calls. Some times when I am feeling my very lowest, or most tired, all I have to do is to talk to one of our reassurance persons, or help someone who is truly in need, and it is just the pick-me-up I was looking for, and I am more able to go on with my own life as a result of it. The other thing that truly keeps me coming back? The simple fact that I have from day one absolutely loved what it is that I do for Contact and it is something I can’t ever imagine not having as a part of my life.
Tell us about yourself and other things you do: I am a 43-year-old mother and grandmother. I have a beautiful daughter, son-in-law, and three beautiful grand children. The grandkids range in ages from 6 years all the way down to 21 months. I also have a wonderful big black lab named Campbell who is the very light of my life, in a very special way. He is my guide dog, my eyes, my guide by my side, and he helps me through each day, and I am able to do even my work for Contact better as a result of having him in my life. I also have a sweet kitty named Celine Kitty who helps me each day remember to have a little fun in my life. I also have a wonderful boy friend named Donnie, who is also a volunteer here at Contact. He and I do many shifts together, and we find that we enjoy that time together very much. There are times when doing a shift together has resulted in our own relationship growing stronger because of it.
As far as what I do for a job, that goes right along with volunteering and taking shifts. I am now the volunteer coordinator for Contact Concern. I was able to get this job as a result of many hours serving on the phones, and working with the volunteers as a volunteer myself and I love what I do. As I wrote above, I cannot ever imagine Contact not being a part of my life. I feel that Contact is a calling, not just a volunteer/paid position. I have always felt that way, since the day I heard the PSA on the radio. It truly spoke to me, and has never stopped.
My hobbies are music and reading. I love nothing more than to de-stress after a long day at Contact by either listening to good music and singing along, or curling up with a good book, and losing myself in it for a while. I also love to take long walks with Donnie, and Campbell on cool evenings as the sun is going down.