Hero Animation
Hero Image

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa

img des: Lisa in our contact centre

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa

Lisa joined Distress Centre as an Online Services Volunteer in September 2021. Though she initially applied to volunteer to meet a requirement of her educational program, she quickly found that what she gained from volunteering went far beyond college credits.

“I don’t really look at it as what I do for Distress Centre because I feel it’s a really well-balanced give and take,” Lisa said about volunteering. “I might give my time on the lines, but DC has given me the ability to grow myself and increase my sense of self-worth while also helping others do the same.”

Lisa is currently studying online to be a counsellor through Kelowna College of Professional Counselling. Lisa is also taking an Indigenous Focusing-Oriented Therapy course (IFOT) which she is very enthusiastic about and grateful to be enrolled in. As a Sixties Scoop survivor, Lisa is still learning a lot about her heritage and hopes to use her skills as a counselor to help others who feel “misaligned” because of similar life circumstances.

“I’m the one that everybody comes to and that people like to work out their stuff with because I remain very non-judgmental. I try to guide people to find their own inner wisdom.” – Lisa

When looking for a place to volunteer, Distress Centre was recommended to her by a few previous volunteers. Lisa decided to give it a shot as an opportunity to test the waters.

“I’m not a counselor on the lines, but it’s getting used to hearing people’s stories and hearing the emotion behind their stories and seeing what that felt like,” Lisa said.

New beginnings

Having come out of a bad marriage, Lisa said that her self-worth and confidence were low. The positive feedback she received through training and mentorship at Distress Centre was a welcome experience after the cruel criticism she was used to. The support she received from staff and fellow volunteers at Distress Centre gave her a sense of community and a safe space to work through her own hang-ups, grow her self-confidence, and more clearly see her own value.

Lisa said that she loves volunteering both because of the staff she works with and also because of the people she gets to help. She feels honored to be trusted with the vulnerability of those who call in and she sees her role as a special gift. As an Online Services Volunteer, Lisa works remotely and provides support to people who contact Distress Centre by chat or text.

Distress Centre provides 24 hour crisis text and chat support, in addition to phone support.

At first, Lisa was concerned whether she would have enough time to volunteer on top of her other responsibilities, but now she works more shifts than required. This is because she feels that the service Distress Centre provides is a “beautiful way to be able to give to others and help people who can’t access mental health supports right away.”

Sixties Scoop reflections

Recently, Lisa’s story was published in a book. Lisa says that while she was loved and cared for as a child, she felt a significant disconnect because of her forced adoption that severed her from her Indigenous heritage. Lisa was invited by Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith to share her story in an anthology called: Silence to Strength: Writings and Reflections on the Sixties Scoop. Lisa said the book is important because it brings attention to a very dark time in our history that still affects many people.

She calls on all of us to “do what we can to help make our world a better place and a more inclusive and loving society.”


Self-care is very important to Lisa. One of the most important aspects of self-care for Lisa is setting boundaries. This is due in part to having grown up in a household where she was afforded very few personal boundaries and expected to be obedient.

Another essential part of Lisa’s self-care is actively practicing gratitude. “It’s a 5-minute process,” she explained. “I say thank you for the abundance of blessings and miracles that I’ve been gifted with every single day. I think about what those are, and I remember that blessings and miracles aren’t necessarily what we’re hoping for. You have to be open to seeing what’s there.”

Lisa finds that the best self-care starts with her mindset. She can find enjoyment and mental breaks in cooking and yard work. She believes that “when you live with intention, you can make anything part of your self-care regime.”

Thank you, Lisa, for volunteering with Distress Centre!

Learn more about becoming an Online Services Volunteer.

In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, Distress Centre Calgary would like to honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.