5 reasons to volunteer remotely (written by our volunteers!)
When you become a remote Online Services Crisis Line volunteer for Distress Centre, you get to make a difference in the lives of others, from the comfort of your home!
Online Services volunteers provide crisis support through online chat and email to anyone who contacts Distress Centre seeking help. Not everyone is comfortable talking on the phone and Distress Centre’s online services are critical to removing the barriers that prevent someone from seeking help.
Volunteering remotely comes with many benefits – but don’t take it from us! Read what our own remote volunteers had to say about why they like volunteering from home.
*Answers edited for length and clarity
5. Enjoy the comforts of home while volunteering
This was by far the most frequent answer when we asked our volunteers why they like volunteering remotely.
“Working at home allows me to volunteer more often without having to leave the comfort of my own bed.” – Kai
''I have dinner or another actual meal during my shift as opposed to the crumbling granola bars I bring to the agency.'' – Zachary
“Responding to the crisis of service remotely allows me to make a difference in the lives of others while having the comfort of being at home. I feel like I can handle tough conversations better and feel more motivated to volunteer because I have more self-care opportunities at home. Volunteering remotely has allowed me to achieve a healthy balance between having meaningful conversations with service users and maintaining a positive head space.” – Altamish
“I can choose whatever snack or (non-alcoholic) drink I want between chats and calls.” – Thompson
“I can wear my PJs while volunteering.” – Enameka
“I get to help chatters and callers from the comfort of home and have all the snacks I want!” – Carly
TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read): If you like dressing comfortably having full access to your snack cupboard while you volunteer, remote volunteering is for you!
4. No commuting
Distress Centre is centrally located and we provide parking to volunteers, but it’s hard to beat a commute that involves simply going from one room in your home to another!
“As I reside over an hour from Calgary, the option for working remote allows me the ideal balance in my busy schedule. Lifestyle is important for well-being, and working remotely means I’m happier and more reciprocal on the lines.” – Jonathan
''I enjoy volunteering remotely because it’s easy to do it anytime and anywhere. You don’t have to worry about commute time.'' – Tara
“I live about an hour from Distress Centre so I enjoy not having to drive, especially after a late shift.” – Claire
Ready to take advantage of no commute? Apply to volunteer!
3. Allows more flexibility and makes it easier to balance volunteering with other commitments
“Volunteering remotely gives me the flexibility to finish my homework or relax when I’m waiting for chats to come in.” – Martin
“Volunteering remotely has helped me the most with my own personal wellness. I am able to use the time before my shift to take care of myself.” – Lauren
''Responding remotely means extra time in my day to focus on my own health and wellness. I use my extra time to exercise, read my favourite book and cook meals for my family.'' – Richelle
“I’m a student so having all of my school supplies and study material readily available allows me to be productive on slower days.” – Thompson
“As a working mom, I was feeling isolated from the world outside the walls of our home, so I started volunteering to give back and feel more connected to my community. However, finding the time to fit in volunteer work in to my schedule was difficult. Volunteering remotely has allowed me to work around my family’s busy schedule. I can focus the small amount of time I do have supporting others in the community.” – Ann
2. Support from Distress Centre staff and connection with other volunteers
Volunteering remotely doesn’t mean you’re alone. Remote volunteers still receive virtual supervision and support from staff and have the opportunity to virtually connect with other volunteers while on shift.
“The supervisors are always responsive and available to support me during the calls and after.” – Amanda
“Volunteering from home has also allowed me to connect with my fellow volunteers more because we are on a Zoom call with each other when there are no chats or calls.” – Kai
“I have found that volunteering from home is not much different from being at the agency, especially since the staff are extremely attentive and helpful during all calls and chats that I’ve taken!” – Andrea
“Remote shifts don’t lack any of the resources that on-site shifts have so I’ve never felt under-prepared, as we are provided all the resources we need.” – Zoha
“Even though it has been remote, the volunteer and staff community at Distress Centre has thrived and is hugely supportive as well. There are simply few other communities of people and socially impactful organizations like Distress Centre carrying out such rewarding work.” – William
Join the Distress Centre community! Apply to volunteer!
1. Make a difference from home!
Distress Centre’ front-line services provide truly meaningful volunteer opportunities. You can feel that you’re making a difference with every contact you answer.
“Volunteering has allowed me to be that listening ear and shoulder to cry on for others. Overall, it has been a phenomenal experience!” – Andrew
“When I was having troubles in my younger years, having access to mental health resources was invaluable to my well-being, and I want to pay it forward. The fact that we are able to continue providing these resources during the pandemic makes me very happy and proud to be a Distress Centre volunteer!” – Ajay
“At times when I felt isolated, remote volunteering reminded me that I’m not alone. Distress Centre is such a great support network for everyone in Calgary, and it is amazing that I can help this organization right from my own home!” – Andrew
''At times when I felt isolated, remote volunteering reminded me that I'm not alone.'' - Andrew
“Volunteering remotely is an incredible way to support to local Calgary community and help people when they are most vulnerable. It is rewarding to be the person who can help somebody struggling and provide them with the listening ear they need.” – William
Are you ready to become a remote Online Services volunteer? Apply now!
Volunteering remotely isn’t for everyone. If you’d like to volunteer on-site, apply to become a crisis line volunteer.