Chinese Emotional Support Hotline Volunteer – Super Stars of the Month January
It’s the once-a-month volunteer interview. This month, the hotline has selected two supervisors and two listeners. Nathalie, Mandy, Sally and Zhao Yu.
Nathalie’s family immigrated to Canada from mainland China 19 years ago. When they first immigrated, they landed in Montreal and lived there for nearly 10 years. Later, the family moved to Calgary due to the transfer of his husband’s work. After coming to Calgary, due to the nature of her husband’s work, he is often away from home, so she has been working as a housewife at home, taking care of the family and children, and sometimes doing some volunteer work in schools or other places.
In 2020, Nathalie was introduced by a friend to volunteer in the Bread Service Project of ECSSEN Career School. In April 2021, ECSSEN Career School advertised that it needed hotline volunteers, so she signed up to join the hotline volunteer team.
Since Nathalie volunteered at the hotline, she was very touched by two aspects: First, she was very grateful to the founders of the hotline for their concern, love and help to overseas Chinese. Because for Chinese living abroad, they will encounter all kinds of troubles and pressures in their lives, but they have nowhere to talk about these pressures, that is, they cannot talk to their parents in China, because they are concerned of their parents’ worries, and they are reluctant to talk with friends, for not making fun of themselves. Now that there is a hotline, for those who have been hurt, aggrieved, and depressed, they can go to the hotline to talk about their troubles with confidence and safety. Nathalie thinks that the Chinese Emotional hotline is a love hotline, because there are so many caring volunteers here who patiently listen to every call. On the hotline, they are not bored and anxious. Every call is so important to them. The volunteers are doing their best to listen, accompany and understand!
When Nathalie encounters difficulties, she will calm down first, and then she will think: What difficulties are you encountering? How will this difficulty affect her life? If it was just a small problem, she would tell herself that there was no need to be sad, and then she would do some exercise, listen to music, organize the closet, and clean the house. These can make her dispel the unhappiness in her heart. If the difficulties encountered are too great to bear, Nathalie will talk to friends or family members. Under normal circumstances, after the exchange, she will have the confidence and courage to overcome difficulties. Nathalie is very grateful to her family and friends, whose shoulders she can rely on at any time.
Nathalie has the following advice for Self Care:
1) Take care of your body – eat a healthy diet, sleep well and exercise regularly
2) Take care of your emotions – often chat with friends, listen to music, read
3) Self-suggestion, let go of yourself – don’t ask yourself to always solve all problems perfectly, just try your best, and learn to ask people around you for help.
Mandy came to Canada in 2010. After completing his studies in Saskatoon, he settled here because his husband was studying at the University of Calgary. Now working in the marketing department of a local furniture company.
Mandy joined the Hotline Volunteer in the summer of 2021. Before, she had always had the idea of participating in more social activities by volunteering, but she had not found a suitable project. Mandy thinks that Volunteer Hotline is a very good project, which not only allows her to learn a lot of useful social resources, but also shares these resources with more people, especially the Chinese. Many Chinese here, including herself, have settled overseas as adults, and most of their relatives and friends are in China. When I first came to Canada, the social foundation was basically zero. Coupled with the language barrier, many times I had to explore and solve problems by myself. With the help of the database provided by the hotline and the help of volunteers, many problems can be solved quickly and effectively.
Mandy feels that everyone will encounter unsatisfactory things in life, work or study. Some people can solve themselves, and some people need to chat with others. The hotline provides a healthier emotional outlet and helps raise awareness of mental health issues in the Chinese community. In addition, everyone in the volunteer team has the same cultural heritage, but different experiences and different perspectives. While ensuring smooth communication, it can also inspire people and help Chinese better integrate into the new society. environment.
When Mandy encounters difficulties, he will first collect information, ask people and professionals for advice, turn big difficulties into small ones, and then solve them one by one. She said her parents often taught her that there are more ways than difficulties. Do your best, but try to be as calm as possible. Even if it can’t be solved, there are still many things worth paying attention to in life, and it is good to use the spiritual victory method occasionally.
If she encounters unpleasant things, Mandy will find family and friends to complain, play with children, watch variety shows, go out for a walk and eat some food, or do cleaning work while listening to the radio.
Zhao Yu is a freshman computer science student at the University of Alberta. He joined the hotline team through a friend’s introduction in August 2021. Zhao Yu feels that the team of the Chinese Emotional Support hotline is very enthusiastic and helpful.
When encountering difficulties in the hotline, Zhao Yu advises everyone not to panic, first stabilize the caller’s mood, and then slowly understand the caller’s needs. If you need help from the foreman, then use Zoom to contact the foreman. Zhao Yu’s advice to volunteers is to treat every conversation with the caller as a conversation between friends and not be nervous.
Zhao Yu himself will take Self Care by listening to music or watching TV dramas.
Sally is from Luoyang, the ancient capital of the Henan province of Mainland China. Her whole family immigrated from China to Canada in 2003, bringing her son and husband. When she had done Linc in 2004, she met many volunteers. Since then she started her own volunteer career and now visits food banks and CIWA on a regular basis. In 2011, in addition to working as a document control, she spent a lot of her spare time volunteering at YMCA doing child minding. In 2007, she became a volunteer at ECSSEN Career School and helped out poverty-stricken children in remote regions of China.
In 2018, she participated in the bread project of ECSSEN Career School and grew from a volunteer to the general coordinator in the south. In the beginning of 2021, Sally learned that ECSSEN Career School was recruiting volunteers for the hotline, and she had signed up for it as soon as possible. After interviews and training, she was finally accepted to be in the first round of hotline volunteers. She applied for the supervisor position two months later, and now she works four hours a week on the hotline.
Sally’s greatest feeling as a volunteer is that she is tired but happy. As a listener, when the caller is confused and hopeless, our company gives them a little hope and light, and makes them feel cared and loved. This is what makes Sally happiest. Volunteers sometimes experience emotional anxiety or frustration after hearing too many unhappy thoughts or talks that do not satisfy the caller. However, Sally suggests that volunteers go take time for themselves when they realize that they have this emotion. Do things you like, such as exercising, listening to songs, or chatting on the phone. While caring for others, take care of yourself.
A few years ago, Sally’s best friend’s child suffered from depression. When she saw their unwell face and worried appearances, she not only felt sorry for her friends and children, but also tried her best to chat with the child, cook his favorite food, and go to the gym together… Fortunately, the child recovered and returned to school in a year. Now every Christmas Sally will receive the child’s blessings and gifts and the child tells Sally that she is an aunt they can trust to share joy and sorrow. This makes her very happy.
Sally is more happy when she is helping others. As a woman, she likes to participate in beauty activities and do manicures. She keeps her hobbies, reading, playing the gūzheng, exercising, chatting, and drinking coffee with family and friends.
The Chinese Emotional Support Hotline is supported by a group of volunteers from different backgrounds like Nathalie, Mandy, Zhao Yu and Sally. If you, like the volunteers, want to contribute a little to the Chinese community, you are welcome to join us.