Chinese Emotional Support Hotline Volunteer – Man Qin Wen (Melanie Wen)
Melanie is a mother of two children. On her child’s sixth birthday, she said to her husband “I was sent to China at this exact age”.
Born and raised in Burma for the first 6 years of her life, Melanie and her family did not even have running water or electricity. Due to her Chinese descent, her parents wanted her to receive education in China. At the age of six, she was sent to live with her uncle in a rural farming village where many Chinese people would also return to. Despite still not having a hot water heater, Melanie was ecstatic to finally have running water and electricity. Without any complaints, she would happily come home from school each day and boil water with only firewood so the family could shower.
Due to Melanie’s Uncle and Aunt both being teachers, every teacher in her school knew her uncle. They were all extremely kind and friendly towards her because many of them felt bad for this young girl living without her parents. Over the six years of elementary school, Melanie was a straight A student and this built up her confidence. Having been away from her parents from such a young age, Melanie became very independent and strong while other children were still codependent as children should be.
When she was in grade 7, Melanie’s parents finally decided to move back to China. Her parents brought her to Zhuhai, a coastal city that is one hour away from Hong Kong by ferry. Her mother’s siblings all lived in Hong Kong and wanted to be close to the family. In Zhuhai, her peers started studying English in grade 4 but back in the village, they didn’t start until grade 7. When Melanie first moved to Zhuhai, her grades were not good but after working extremely hard, she eventually became one of the top 10 students in her class.
Because of her many life experiences, Melanie has and always will seem somewhat more mature than her fellow peers. Many of her friends now still like talking to her about their problems. Now, Melanie genuinely enjoys volunteering as a hotline listener because she has been playing this role for a very long time. Listeners of the hotline all have a chance to become supervisors after they have fulfilled enough time. When Melanie was asked to become a supervisor, she decided being a listener at the frontline is what she enjoys doing the most. One time, Melanie was on the phone for two and a half hours and once the caller hung up, she could finally use the washroom and drink water. It was all worth it when she discovered that the caller had given her a 9 out of 10 satisfaction rate. Positive feedback such as that one means the world to Melanie, and she continues to happily help her community.
Having lived in both an underdeveloped country and rural China, Melanie has always had a heart to help the underprivileged. She started a student club called “Step Forward that has became the second large student club in University of Calgary. She is a gardener in community garden, a volunteer for the ECSSEN Bread Project, hotline listener and the marketing manager for Chinese emotional hotline. After serving five years as a board member for ICCRC Melanie developed an interest for public services. Therefore, Melanie is standing for public school trustee for Wards 1 and 2 in 2021 Calgary municipal election. When she was door knocking, she has heard from many Calgarians. She would like to serve the best interest of Children. We wish Melanie good luck on her campaign.
The Chinese Emotional Support hotline is supported by a group of volunteers who have stories like Andy. If you and your friends and relatives around you want to talk and need resources, please call the hotline 587-997-5977. In addition, the hotline recruits volunteers and supervisors throughout the year. If you are interested, please copy the link below to sign up or scan the code to sign up through the poster below:
Please also have a reference form complete your reference in addition to the application: https://forms.gle/Xg6GvgaKJ26NUVYN7
The volunteer coordinator will arrange for you to participate in the training as soon as possible.