Meet Laurel Lee, Coordinator, Telephone Aid Line Kingston
Lee juggles her third year studies at Queens University with volunteering at Telephone Aid Line Kingston (TALK), where she
overlooks the operations as the coordinator and takes distress line calls. She
joined TALK in 2008, wanting to volunteer and try something new. Here, Laurel found a close-knit
group of people and a way to sharpen her telephone, communication, and people
is currently studying life science (i.e. health science) and Women's Studies, likes to learn about
mental health issues and disorders, and aims at becoming a dentist someday. She
volunteers writing papers with a professor of dentistry at the University of Toronto. She explains that being a
dentist means interacting with people everyday and building relationships. "I
also like to work with my hands," she adds.
volunteered as a one-on-one counsellor with autistic children and kids with Down
Syndrome. Her work at TALK allows her to take on a different kind of
responsibility, supporting volunteers and helping to make their jobs easier,
and helping people that she has no other connection with beyond TALK.
"We're playing superheroes," she says, "we go out
at night and do our service to the community - that feels empowering and really
TALK lost its charity status about 6 years ago but has recently gained it back. Laurel
and her TALK team are starting to look for ways to use the extra funding to benefit the organization, like accreditation and publicity. "This gives
us a lot more options for moving ahead, we look more reliable and credible for
future funding." Laurel
has also increased her centre's promotion and advertising, and plans to revamp
their website to keep it fresh.
She feels good about TALK being the only distress
centre of its kind in Kingston.
"There are a lot of low income people in Kingston
right now," Laurel
explains, "our callers are people who may not have jobs, people who may depend
on welfare or EI."
Laurel likes to experiment
with as much as she can. She is on the synchronized swimming team at Queens and understands the importance of working together
with a team. She applies this to her work with TALK: "I like the idea that a
lot of people are coming together to do a big thing!"
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Meet Elizabeth Pease, Executive Director, Telecare Cambridge
Elizabeth was busy
looking to accumulate credit hours for a university class when she got involved
with DC Windsor-Essex and it was
there that she fell in love. "I grew up in a small
and very supportive community and I feel very strongly about giving back," she
explains. Not long ago in 2008, she was able to give back in a big way when she was offered the Executive Director position at Telecare Cambridge. Since becoming
the ED at Telecare Cambridge, Elizabeth
has made some big, positive changes to the small but necessary centre.
on her creativity and her background
in transportation and health care recruitment to bolster volunteer recruitment
and retention at her centre, Elizabeth
came up with interesting ways of drawing volunteers to her centre, devising training sessions, writing a volunteer manual, and creating a volunteer
training agenda. Through this initiative, Elizabeth
not only retrained her original volunteers by providing a stable structure, she
doubled the number of new volunteers in one year.
Her education is a collage of ways to understand
the human condition: she has a BA (Hons) in Psychology from the University
of Guelph, with a minor
in Theology and Women's Studies. "I have a great interest in what and why people
think and want a better understanding of human behaviour," she explains. Theology
an understanding of people and their beliefs, and Women's Studies allowed her to
understand equality across genders and cultures and taught her to be more
open-minded. "It really helped me to be able to get out of my personal comfort
levels and consider other people's situations."
likes natural surroundings, canoe trips, and camping. She has an unusual and
remarkable creative outlet: making stained
glass! She's made pieces as small as
Christmas ornaments to pieces as large as 2' x 3'. Elizabeth
collaborates with her 16 year-old daughter who draws the designs and Elizabeth does the glass.
Their latest projects are large glass pieces in solid wood frames for family
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THE WALK - Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Walk in Guelph
on September 2nd
DCO Executive Director, Liz Fisk,
visits with distress centres and partners groups across the province.
It is a rewarding and enriching activity where Liz has the opportunity
to learn about the unique culture and visions of each centre or partner
group and often sees the opportunities to work together to support the needs of individuals in Ontario.
is the month when committed organizations throughout the world turn their
attention to suicide awareness and prevention, and Community Torchlight,
Distress Centre Wellington/Dufferin is no different.
the tag line "Join All Walks of Life in Walking for Life", Community
Torchlight was the lead partner in hosting the community organizations,
partners and individuals in a 2.8 km or 5 km evening walk throughout Riverside Park and its neighbourhoods, a community
concert, and a candlelight vigil of remembrance.
was the fourth WALK in Guelph
and for the first time a walk was held in Orangeville at Alexander Park, at the
same time. Executive Director Jessie Baynham was in Orangeville for the opening
ceremonies and then worked hard to return to Guelph for the vigil and wrap-up. THE WALK
was a success with over $7,000 raised by the one hundred people who walked in Guelph and the thirty
people who attended the Orangeville event.
had the pleasure of attending the WALK in Guelph
and bringing greetings from DCO to the organizers and participants. I was inspired by the honest and compelling
story told by Melissa Miller, the keynote speaker. Melissa spoke of her own journey through
darkness, a suicide attempt, and the activities she now engages in to bring her
personal story of hope to others.
organizing committee must be commended for their hard work and for the large
network of partners and community agencies engaged by this event. Over 35 business and agencies lent their
support to the community education and awareness efforts; from banks to water
bottling companies; from mental health agencies to restaurants; from private
individuals to wellness centres.
I walked down one of the main streets, I was pleased to see how many passing
vehicles honked their horns in support for the signs some participants carried. Many walkers were waving to people they knew
on the street or even in the bus as it passed.
It was particularly gratifying to see the wide range of participants at
THE WALK. It was truly a celebration of
hope and lives lived as families, young people, seniors and many survivors
walked side by side in a spirit of togetherness and remembrance.
Above: volunteers and walkers at the 2009 Suicide Prevention and Awareness Walk in Guelph
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