Just last Tuesday I was able to visit the Distress Centre here in Calgary where the program ConnecTeen comes to live , I was given a tour by Vanessa at the centre and she told me all about what ConnecTeen truly is. ConnecTeen is a confidential peer support service for youth here in Calgary. Any youth that feels they need to speak with someone and let their feelings or emotions out and require advice can contact ConnecTeen and will be helped. There are a number of ways to reach the ConnecTeen service. Any teenager can phone them at 403.264.8336 (Their lines are open 24 hours a day), can chat with them online from 5-10pm , can text them at 587.333.2724 every day from 5-10pm or even simply email them at ConnecTeen@distresscentre.com where the teen will receive a reply from 24-48 hours. The lines are answered by youth who know exactly what position a teenager can be in and know what they are experiencing at the moment as well as relate to it. Each volunteer has to go through over 60 hours of training before they can sit down to give support. So although they are teens as well, they have trained and are highly qualified to offer this support.  Here are some of the ConnecTeen volunteers and myself:

(Photo taken at Calgary Hitmen Game)

Each one of the volunteers commits to 4 volunteer shifts each month at the Distress Centre over the course of a school year. I had the pleasure of meeting each one of them and they are all amazing individuals who care deeply about what they do.

Just yesterday (March 15,2014) there was an event in support of ConnecTeen. The event was held at the Calgary Saddledome for the Hitmens Hockey Game. The volunteers and myself were in charge of handing out free sunglasses for a contest. The photographer would come around and take photos of those with sunglasses on and you would be entered for a chance to win various prizes including a Nikon camera!!.

I had the opportunity to spend my night with all the volunteers at one point but spent most of my night with 3 very special volunteers Rashma, Mohammed and Irene and one awesome photographer named Brett . Rashma became my best friend literally over this one night ,she is so amazing and was absolutely outstanding when she was presented a $10,000 cheque by ElissDon Construction Company in support of the ConnecTeen Program. Irene was so great and dedicated she made sure that each and every single photo take of the crowd with glasses got on to Twitter so that you could be entered into the contest (trust me this becomes exhausting after hours). Mohammed made sure to go up and down the stairs telling everyone how the contest worked , hand out glasses and find between the massive crowds those who wanted to enter that had glasses, he had an amazing upbeat attitude about everything and the crowd absolutely loved him. And of course Brett the photographer took non-stop pictures all throughout the night and had to keep going up and down the stairs to take pictures of everyone and the game while crouching down to make sure he didn’t block the view of the hockey game. Overall it was an amazing event and such a wonderful experience! Here is a picture of Rashma and I. 

(Rashma such an amazing girl!)

The night was filled was dedicated volunteers, an amazing hockey game which I must say congratulations to the Calgary Hitmen for your 6-3 win against the Kootenay Ice! , an unlimited  amount of optimistic hockey fans and of course my absolute favorite my little fans. Here are some of them: 

(Aren’t they the absolute cutest??)

My little fans all thought that I was a princess which was amazing and so fun! They all brought a smile to my face and made me laugh just when I was about to get tired!. They are so amazing all of them and hopefully I will see them again sometime in another hockey game! 

Well that’s all for now my darlings! I hope you enjoyed this post and please support ConnecTeen , a big thank you to all the volunteers and Vanessa at the Distress Centre you are amazing at what you do it was such a pleasure to meet you all and of course thank you to Brett Gilmour for all these photos! I wish them all the best and look forward to working with ConnecTeen once again soon!

Love xoxo,

-Claudia Carta

Miss Teenage Calgary 2014

 

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