What happens when someone calls WE CAN? The first time someone calls our office seeking help, they often feel nervous or overwhelmed. Sometimes they are afraid to explain their circumstances. Frequently they are on the verge of tears. It takes bravery to pick up the phone and reach out for help and our goal is to ensure they feel heard, supported and relieved at the end of the call.
It starts by having an experienced, skilled, kind and empathetic team of volunteers on the other end of the phone. If you call WE CAN, you will be greeted by Karen, Margot, Myra, Connie, or Cynthia – our caring team of Reception Support Volunteers. They work alongside our staff and strive to leave every caller feeling and knowing they made the right decision to call WE CAN and are now on a path that will lead to a better place.
And these amazing volunteers go the extra mile! Karen Young once talked to a very frightened caller for over an hour until she felt comfortable and safe. This caller started out afraid to even give her name and was ultimately able to trust and accept help through WE CAN legal and financial services. Karen understood that the woman needed time to in order to be able to trust again, because of the trauma of her past experiences.
Myra Killeen also understands the importance of patience when speaking with callers. She recalls one caller recently who “unwound” over the course of the call. Myra could hear the difference in the caller’s voice as she released her nervous energy, and says, “By the end, it was almost like I was talking to a different person.” Myra knows that, more than anything else, sometimes people just need to be heard, and that simply listening is a powerful way to help.
Margot Rice remembers a phone call where she was able to share something of her own childhood to reassure the caller that the choice she was considering would not negatively impact her children. Margot was willing to share some of her own vulnerability to help this woman, and to also let her know that all of us find ourselves in a vulnerable place sometimes – to know that she is not alone.
Connie Stead says she was moved recently when a caller simply thanked her for “answering with such a friendly voice.” Connie certainly does have a naturally friendly – and soothing – voice! But she also understands that sometimes women who are in stressful situations just need to hear a calm and comforting presence when they are searching for help. It’s important to Connie that she provides that comfort, along with help in scheduling services.
Cynthia Dauphin thinks of answering the phone at WE CAN as more than just knowing how to schedule legal, career and business support, and financial management services. Cynthia really cares about the caller as a person. She always keeps in mind what the person at the other end of the line is going through, even when – especially when – that person is difficult or argumentative. “I am so lucky in my life,” says Cynthia, “and I always remember that I am not going through the stress that they are experiencing. I want to find them the services they need, and get them back to themselves.”
WE CAN is so fortunate and we are so grateful for our volunteers. Our team of Reception Support Volunteers is the best there is. If you are interested in joining these amazing women, email Dawn Walnut to learn more about this volunteer role – and see if it might be right for you.