Lynelle Client Care Volunteer
Tell us about yourself outside of volunteering: work, hobbies, etc
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2016 from the University of Toronto studying Global Health, Psychology, and French. I am currently interested in the impact of technology on health and quality of life. During the day, I work as a Research Assistant to help train artificially intelligent (AI) models for machine learning with the goal of disrupting our daily lives. On evenings and weekends, I enjoy nurturing my creative side by playing the piano, trying out DIY projects, and maximizing my time outdoors while the weather is nice!
How did you hear about Hope Air, and when did you start volunteering?
I discovered Hope Air when looking for volunteering opportunities on the CLN (a job board for U of T students), and started volunteering in April 2018.
What appealed to you about being involved?
During my undergrad, I was involved in many clubs/committees, and noticed that something was missing in that area after I graduated. I had already been involved in a research project which allowed me to work in a hospital setting, but I was always more interested in identifying/filling in gaps in our healthcare system. Hope Air was the right choice for me to get acquainted with the social determinants of health, and also to become aware of the many moving parts of a non-profit organization.
What do you do in your role?
As a Client Care Volunteer, I look at my role as a way to hold various players accountable in order to complete a successful travel request. This includes talking to many stakeholders such as patients, their caregivers, social workers, doctors, nurses, receptionists, etc. I also get to interact with clients at every level of the process; from helping to complete a travel request online to making sure that they have all the information they need before their flight. After every interaction, I update their file so that the travel request can move forward as efficiently as possible.
What do you enjoy the most about volunteering here?
I really enjoy volunteering at Hope Air because I gain so much in return that it sometimes feels selfish! In addition to feeling appreciated for every phone call I make, I get to develop important skills such as customer service, emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity, which helps me to become a more well-rounded professional. Volunteering is especially beneficial in this regard because it is much easier to make and learn from mistakes quickly in a nurturing environment instead of a competitive environment. I also get a lot of inspiration from interacting with such interesting yet like-minded staff and volunteers who all contribute to such a wonderful community.
What’s been most memorable? What’s surprised you?
During every shift, I am always surprised by the constant number of Canadians who have to deal with such complex and chronic health conditions that do not discriminate by age. It is a good reminder for me to be grateful for my own health every day and never take it for granted. Having an additional barrier to deal with such as distance or a financial strain is something I cannot even imagine, which makes me want to go the extra mile to make their situation that tiny bit easier. It happens quite often, but it is always memorable assisting the (amazing) staff by doing everything possible to accommodate a last-minute travel request.