Telecare Peterborough is a local, anonymous hotline where trained volunteers provide non-judgmental telephone support and resources 24/7.

Telecare receives calls from people of all ages, experiencing a variety of issues including relationships, jobs and finances, grief and loss, loneliness, stress, depression and suicidal feelings, sexuality, physical and emotional health, and alcohol and drug problems.

Are you interested in learning more and reaching out to help? Telecare Peterborough is currently looking for volunteers! Volunteer with Telecare Distress Centre of Peterborough and learn about how to help people who are scared, lonely, in need of help or simply need someone to talk to.

Training is ongoing and volunteers are only required to work one four hour shift every two weeks.

By volunteering with Telecare you can learn valuable life skills. Kate, a fourth year sociology and politics double major at Trent and a Telecare volunteer for a year and half, notes that the training has been helpful for her professionally and personally since it allowed her to gain knowledge about social issues, local issues, about how to be a good listener and how to become more empathetic and non-judgmental.

The training teaches volunteers how to think on their feet and how to best respond to callers needs, which develops skills that can be applied in everyday life.

Every call is different and the volunteers need to be able to quickly respond to the caller’s needs.

There is a large sense of community within Telecare and this enables them to support the callers in their time of need.

Chris, a third year Biology and Psychology Major student at Trent has been volunteering with Telecare for 2 and a half years and notes that the experience of volunteering has given him a sense of empowerment that he feels has helped him become more professional in his academic and personal life.

Volunteers gain: training in active listening, training in dealing with emergency situations, transferable skills, the opportunity to make a difference, the satisfaction of providing emotional support and the experience of being part of a caring, supportive team.

Training is 50 hours and costs $50; however there are subsidies available to help with the cost.

To become a volunteer you need to commit to two four-hour shifts a month, provide a police check and give two personal references.

The training includes interactive presentations, role-playing and discussions with speakers from various local agencies which prepare volunteers to handle situations related to:  mental illness, poverty, grief, depression, abuse, addictions and suicide.

Both Kate and Chris noted that the time commitment has not been difficult to balance even while going school and working part-time jobs.

The short 4 hour shifts are available 24/7 with flexible scheduling, which can make it easy to find some time to volunteer.

Kate notes that when the phones are quiet you are free to do your homework until another you receive the next call.

The volunteers noted that volunteering has been an extremely rewarding experience.

Kate points out how beneficial Telecare’s service is to the community and how much she has enjoyed making a difference for callers.

Chris mentions that he enjoys being able to support callers, help them talk through their problems, and listen while they develop strategies to overcome their issues.

When asked what Kate would say to someone that was thinking of volunteering she said “I would tell them to contact Telecare, look into the training, go to the first meeting and see if it’s a fit for you!”

When Kate first found out about Telecare she was unsure but she the first night at training grabbed her interest and she hasn’t looked back, “obviously not everyone is going to feel comfortable in this kind of volunteer position, but it really is worth exploring to find out”.

“And I would say to anyone, think of the last time you needed someone to talk to or were having a tough day, who did you turn to? If you had no one to talk to what would you do? Because that’s what Telecare is all about, being there to lend a non-judgmental ear for those that need it. I think we all need that sometimes.

“I think that’s the cusp of it, we all need someone to talk to and by being someone else’s ear that keeps things like Telecare alive so when you need someone, you know they’ll be there.” – Kate

To find out more information about volunteering with Telecare Peterborough please visit our website (http://www.telecarepeterborough.org/), email us ([email protected]) or call us: (705) 745-2273. The next training session will begin April 9.

Names have been changed to protect our volunteers’ identities