Telecare Crisis and Caring Line in Abbotsford is holding a volunteer training course starting Thursday, Jan. 15 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Training sessions will be held at Central Heights Mennonite Brethren Church, 1661 McCallum Rd.
Telecare volunteers are not counsellors but are trained in active listening, and receive training on a variety of topics before they respond to calls.
Besides completing the training course, potential volunteers need to be people who have a genuine caring or empathy for others, be emotionally mature and reliable, and at least 19 years old.
Because Telecare is a Christian ministry, they also need to be a committed Christian.
Last fall at the Telecare’s 25th anniversary celebration, one caller, Suzanne, shared her experience.
She said that after her husband left her, she felt desperate and needed to talk to someone, but she wasn’t ready to share the news with family and friends.
Suzanne said she went to some local churches but, because it was after hours, she was not able to connect with any staff members. However, one church secretary gave her a brochure for a local crisis and caring telephone ministry.
Over the following few months, Suzanne called several times, often when feeling intense grieving over the dissolution of her marriage or feeling uncertainty for the future.
“The volunteers who talked with me really listened and this helped me tremendously as I knew they cared,” she said.
Suzanne has now remarried and has a successful career.
Telecare is now in the planning stage for the addition of an instant-messaging service, which leaders of the non-profit organization believe will be especially appealing to a younger demographic.
“Nowadays for many people it is more common to use the phone to text someone than to talk to someone,” said Debbie Cazander, executive director. “We want to be able to communicate with them in this way as well, and we will keep the public informed when the instant messaging is available.”
For those wanting crisis or emotional support, the Telecare Crisis and Caring Line can be reached at 604-852-9099 or toll free at 1-888-852-9099.
For more information about the non-profit organization or the training sessions, visit telecarebc.com, call 604-852-4058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.