Distress Centre’s first ever Volunteer Impact Event took place on July 25th, 2018. Like Volunteer Appreciation Events in the past, the event focused on showing our gratitude for the dedication shown by our crisis line volunteers. The event differed from events in the past as the focus was on getting feedback and ideas from volunteers on volunteer recognition, engagement and culture.

“People’s needs are getting more complex,” Matt An, Volunteer Team Lead at DC told the crowd of volunteers at Fort Calgary, ”and they  require the Distress Centre community’s help more than ever. Your commitment is the foundation to our beacon of hope, and ensures that everyone is heard. We want your thoughts and opinions. We want you to be heard too.”

The Volunteer Impact Event would not have been possible without our sponsors: ENMAX, RBC, LAN Solutions and Brad Mustard. We are incredibly grateful for their support.

Melanie Markell, Contact Centre Manager for ENMAX, said a few words about our ongoing partnership.

“We have been pleased to support Distress Centre for many years now through contributions to the Basic Needs Fund and through recognizing all of you: volunteers who provide a valuable service to community members in need of assistance,” Melanie said. “You volunteer your time to ensure that others can share their experience with someone who truly hears them. This community – your community of Distress Centre volunteers and employees – is an important thing to nurture and strengthen, as it will thrive with your care and attention.”

Focus sessions followed to discuss how Distress Centre can best recognize and engage volunteers, and build a culture that allows volunteers to thrive so they provide the best support to individuals who contact us.

The information will be analyzed and used by the volunteer program in their strategic planning.

To end the night, Heather Innes, of United Way of Calgary and Area, shared her personal story of when she called Distress Centre.

“I called Distress Centre the day that I went to my medicine cabinet, opened the door and took out a bottle, trying to find a way to end the deep despair for life that I was feeling,” Heather said. She was 25 at the time.

“And then I remembered sitting in a room like this and hearing a speaker talk about Distress Centre, and the incredible support that they’d gotten from someone they’d called, and remembering that gave me the hope I needed, the strength I needed, to reach out and call that number.

I called Distress Centre. I got an incredible person on the end of the line, and an appointment to come in the next day to see someone. And that person sat down with me and was so caring and so supportive and helped me get connected back into the community. It literally saved my life.

I am here with you today because a volunteer helped me.”

Heather has now worked at United Way for over 16 years and is married with two children.

Thank you to our volunteers, Board Members, staff and special guests who joined us for an inspiring evening of community building.

Pictured: Heather Innes delivering sharing her powerful story.