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Volunteer Spotlight: Laura

Volunteer Spotlight: Laura

Image: Laura in 2019 (left) and in 1996.

This month we are celebrating a very special occasion. January 2024 marks the 30 year anniversary for Crisis Line Volunteer, Laura! She first began as a volunteer on our crisis lines in January 1994. But even after three decades and thousands of hours of responding to crisis calls, Laura maintains her curiosity and passion for the work.  

In the beginning of her volunteer journey, what kept Laura engaged was the chance to have an impact and the energy she got from connecting with other people. Then as she started to coach and mentor volunteers, she says “the joy of seeing them grow into their roles and develop as crisis line workers and as human beings added a whole other layer of satisfaction.” Today her interest is in growing in best practices in crisis intervention, as well as volunteer development and support.  

“There are always more things to learn and more ways to make things better,” Laura says.  

As she looks back on thirty years of history at Distress Centre, the theme that emerges most clearly is “the dynamic equilibrium between the science of crisis intervention and the art of creating personal connections.” She continues: “It illustrates the Taoist model of harmony – the dynamic equilibrium between Yin and Yang.  The balance can swing in one direction or another, but it’s the healthy tension between scientific rigour and empathic connection that keeps us vibrant.”

For anyone thinking of volunteering, Laura acknowledges that being a crisis line volunteer can be “challenging and even painful at times, but I can’t imagine how anything could be more rewarding. Opportunities to make this level of difference in the world are rare.

The most important form of self-care, according to Laura, is the mindset you bring to the work itself.

“One thing we learn working in crisis services is that the recipe for disaster is being emotionally invested in things that are outside our control,” Laura shared. “All we can do is put our best selves into the work and understand that we can’t make growth and healing happen. We can only create the best possible conditions to let them happen.”

Thank you Laura for your dedication and service! Distress Centre is lucky to have you.

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.