So I am meant to be off work this week. But my supervisor called me this afternoon in a bit of a panic, one of the other volunteers was having trouble with her p hone. She had nobody to do the calls that that volunteer was doing. So she asked me if I’d step in. I was free, I wasnt doing anything at the time. So of course I said I would do it. So I ended up working in the afternoon for about 2 hours making calls. It was a pleasure to do it for her. I wouldnt see her struggling to find somoene to do the calls, if I can oblige I will. The calls were easy, all of the clients were ok, It was great talking to them all. There was this one client, she asked me if I was knew. I said no, that I’ve been working for friendly call for the past 2.5 years. She then said to me how she finds it so hard to talk to people who she doesnt know. I could appreciate that. Because, I also find it hard to talk and open up to people I dont know, well especially in real life. So I did my best to put her at ease. She told me she was 73 and I told her that she didnt even sound her age. That made her laugh and she told me I made her day. But it was so true. There was no way I’d have guessed she was 73 years old. So I think we clicked after that. I enjoyed working today and there is a chance I may have to work tomorrow also.. Not sure yet but my supervisor said she’d call me in the morning if she needs me to work.
Here’s the article that the lady who interviewed me yesterday wrote. It is going to be on the NCBI’S facebook page. I think its fab. I am delighted with it. I hope you enjoy it.
Volunteering during Covid19.
NCBI service user Shirley Healy has been busy listening, supporting and encouraging hundreds of vulnerable people during Covid19. Shirley, a regular volunteer in Cork based organisation Friendly Call, has increased her time volunteering to five days week making daily phone calls to those living alone and are elderly, or have a disability or chronic illness.
These daily calls have increased since Covid19 due to the closure of day centres so it is really important that we check in on these vulnerable people and be able to listen to how their day is going and if they need advice or anything. I never know what response Ill get as everyones situation is different, some calls only last a few minutes while others are much longer if the person needs to talk.
I get a lot from volunteering with Friendly Call, I enjoy the social aspects with colleagues and giving back to those who need support. As a result of doing this voluntary work, I completed a Diploma in Mental Health and Community in UCC and have found this has helped significantly especially for those callers that require emotional support, said Shirley.
Shirley is blind and has been involved with NCBI since childhood availing of mobility training, online technology tutorials and also participates actively in the weekly peer support group.
For more information about Friendly Call, please call Brenda 087 6366407 or 021 4301700.
I just did an interview for the national council for the blinds facebook page, about how I am blind and giving back to my community by volunteering for friendly call.
The interview will be going live in a day or so, along with a picture of me and nitro.
It was a great opportunity to highlight the work of friendly call. When the article is emailed to me I’ll post it here for you all to see.
It was nice to be recognised for the work I am doing. I am so grateful to be able to be in a position where I can do it.
i worked a lot today. i worked my own shift, doing my own calls, and then my supervisor rang me, one of the other girls who works was ill, and she was short so she asked me if I’d do her calls as well. So instead of calling about 25 people, I called 50 or so. I was wrecked by the end of it. talking to people is so hard, sometimes. most of my clients were ok, but a few were feeling down and depressed. it was tough to hear them so down and upset. I didnt really know many of them, as they were our morning clients, and I dont normally work mornings, but during the pandemic we are just given a list, and we have to work from that list, I knew one or two of them, but it was hard, as when I didnt know them I wasnt sure what I should be talking about with them. I had to take a nap after work finished. I was totally drained. I work again tomorrow but I will only have my own calls to do then, so thats good, its less pressure. I had last week off of work, because of Nitro being unwell, so I felt refreshed going back to work this week. Sometimes its good to have a few days off to rejuvinate.
It feels so surreal
Each day my clients tell me
How they feel
Each day I listen
While on the phone
To their worries
And their fears
They tell me
It helps to talk
I am glad to be able to be there
To help them through
I feel lonely too
But I dont tell them that
I keep it hidden
Keep it to myself
Isolation is a horrible feeling
I dont tell them
That I too am vulnerable
I too have both a disability
And a mental illness
Just like many of my clients
I too have issues
But I have to keep them separate
So I can continue to work effectively
Hard as that is
Seems everyone is being kind these days, checking up on me, to see that I am ok, I am so thankful. My resource worker from the NCBI which is our local blindness agency called me this evening. She said she’d been thinking about me and wanted to see if I was ok. Bless her. I was so thrilled that she called. We had a great catch up. She said the NCBI are trying to organise a few groups, like a book club which will be done virtually, and a chat group one or two times a week jus to check in with everyone. I knew this already since I am on a whats app group for blind people, a technology group and this morning the head of tecnology messaged to ask us if we were all able to use zoom. And to ask us what we thought of a chat group a couple times a week. Everybody thought it was a great idea. My resource worker told me to save her phone number, and not to hesitate to call her if I need anything, and she said she’d check back in in a week or so to see how I am doing. She is so kind, its amazing how people are pulling together during this tough time, I’ve felt so loved, and cared for. Its been amazing, and I am feeling so blessed to have so many supportive peole in my life.
I had some sad news today. I was working and making my calls, I had a new list of clients to call this week, so I got to one lady, we’ll call her R. I rang R’s number, and her son answered. He told me R passed away yesterday. She’d been very sick for a long time, and she’d been in hospital for about a year, but he said she came home last Tuesday from the hospital. She died peacefully at home. It was a huge shock. R was so lovely. She loved the chat and would always look forward to our call every day. I felt so sad upon hearing the news. I spoke a little to her son and told him what a character she was. I think he felt better talking to me. I told him I’d tell the supervisor and that she’d be in touch. Its going to be a big loss. I felt so sad all day after hearing this news. It really shook me up. Its part of my job, I mean its happened before that clients have passed away, and it never gets any easier to hear it. I hope R is at peace now. I’ve been thinking about her all afternoon, she’s been in my thoughts and I said a prayer for her family and especially her son who I spoke to today. Its just so so hard to lose one of my clients. It made Monday very hard for me.