Call goes out for Kidsline buddies
Becoming a teenage counsellor changed Henry Wadsworth’s life.
The 18-year-old became a phone buddy for Kidsline about 18 months ago and says it is hugely rewarding.
‘‘To be honest, it wasn’t really a thing old me would have done, but I saw this little notice at school and I thought I’d give it a go,’’ he says.
Kidsline is the country’s only call centre that has kids helping kids – every counsellor is a secondary school student.
The volunteer counsellors answer calls from young people up to the age of 14, who face a myriad problems including bullying, family violence or relationship issues.
‘‘I feel that I am very privileged in my life and this is a way that I can help kids less fortunate than me, in an anonymous way,’’ Henry says.
‘‘Doing this has changed my life, it’s made me a better person on the inside and I’m happier in life.’’
The service is looking for more buddies to start on the phone lines next year.
Year 11 students are recruited to volunteer on the phone lines for two years.
Before answering calls they go through intensive training over summer and then receive ongoing training during their time at Kidsline.
Resource team member Penny Maxwell says having teen counsellors helps reduce barriers that might stop a young person calling.
‘‘One of the other reasons is that because they have been recently there it can make it a bit easier to hear what the child’s saying and not just give a parental response,’’ Miss Maxwell says.
‘‘And also, sometimes for the callers, maybe they have tried talking to adults, maybe it’s kind of scary or maybe it’s an adult that’s making them feel this way.’’
Giving back: Henry Wadsworth says being a Kidsline buddy has made him happier in life.