From Reaching Youth to Being Back with Her Seniors – Q & A with Helena

She left her job to become a Road Team Intern and reach youth across the country. Now, with the semester being cut short as a result of the coronavirus, Helena finds herself back alongside some of our countries most vulnerable.

We’ve never met someone who loved working with seniors as much as Helena does. She’ll often dive into conversation about her residents and share stories with whoever will listen, but she went through some difficult times growing up and felt compelled to make a difference in the lives of youth across the country.

It wasn’t easy, but in the end, Helena decided to give up her apartment and leave the safety of her full-time job to join us as a tour intern. 

In January, she travelled to Hamilton, crafted her story, and worked hard to memorize all of her lines. She overcame butterflies when speaking to large crowds and had started to get into the groove of tour life, but then things got cut short. Now, with schools being closed and everyone practicing social distancing, Helena finds herself home in British Columbia, couch surfing while casually employed back at the Baptist Housing Seniors Living residence. 

Although things haven’t gone according to plan, Helena remains positive as she helps “her seniors” make connections through this time of isolation.

We asked her where she’s been finding inspiration, if she’s had any big realizations lately, and if she could offer someone encouragement right now, what would it be. Here what she said…

In these difficult times, who are you finding inspiration from?

During these times, I’m inspired by my residents. They still find ways to connect and enjoy life. I get to walk in and see them playing crib together, and we have 6 foot-apart dance parties. I guess life is about the simple joys we choose to look for.

What is a realization that you’ve had recently that you think others could benefit from knowing?

When the coronavirus first started becoming a big issue, I was really disappointed and worried because it felt like my life was falling apart. I took time to be disappointed but then I realized that I actually have time to focus on other important things. I always had a “things I want to do when I have more time” list in the back of my mind. Now I actually have time to study a new language, to read, to learn how to cook and to journal. It all comes down to perspective.

Being there for each other through tough times is so important. What do you have to say to someone else who might be needing a little encouragement?

Your feelings are valid! For the first time in our lives, we have no idea what the future will look like. Everything is very uncertain. I would just tell you to take some time and think about what you can control. How you use your time. Is your worrying productive or is it making you feel worse? What makes you happy? What can you do right now that would help you enjoy your day?

Anyone who’s had the chance to hear Helena speak will know that this idea of creating space for more of what makes you happy is a big part of her story. So what can you do that will help you enjoy today more? And what can you do today that will help someone else be happy?

Do you always look for ways to make a difference for others? You should intern with us!

Reach out and we get in touch.

Author: Joshua Dueck

Date: April 7th, 2020

Take Care of Yourself

Watching so many people take self-isolation and physical distancing seriously has been awesome. But just because we’re all in for the greater good doesn’t make this whole thing any easier.

Do you know what is easy though? Diving headfirst into video game marathons, swiping TikTok, and binge-watching Netflix. But recently, some very smart people are suggesting that might not be in our best interest during this current pandemic.

Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself through this time…

Get plenty of sleep, eat as healthy, exercise, and get some fresh air

There’s nothing revolutionary about these suggestions, but making sure we’re doing the basics is going to be really important for putting us in the best position to help others when they need us!

Stay in touch

It may be tempting, but now is not the time to withdraw. We’re in this together so it’s important to stay connected to your family and friends. Mix it up by scheduling times to talk or be completely spontaneous with reaching out.

Set goals and share them with others

In addition to making positive lifestyle choices, now’s the perfect time to read that book, learn an instrument or experiment with a hobby. Moving forward might feel difficult, but don’t feel bad. Whether it’s eating healthy, exercising or picking up a hobby, your odds at following through will get better if you let others know about your goals. So share them with a friend or on social and you’ll get a little bit of extra motivation.

And if you find it’s all just too much…

Reach out to friends or family and let them know how you are feeling. And if you are in crisis, text ‘TALK’ to 686868. It’s a service provided by Crisis Text Line and there will be someone who can chat with you 24 hours a day.

Normally, we’re focused on how you can help others. But right now, self-care is crucial—after all, you need to be in a good place for when others need you!

Together, we can and will make a difference.

Author: Joshua Dueck

Date: April 2nd, 2020

Our Hope for Tomorrow

It’s in our nature to be hopeful

Over the past couple of weeks, we really thought that the tide could turn. Internationally, the countries we work in had yet to see any cases, so we continued working to bring families into safe housing. And here at home, we remained positive that after a quick break, we’d be back on the road to continue making face-to-face connections with youth across the country.

Optimists can be wrong—but we don’t think it’s wrong to be an optimist! Unfortunately, our positive outlook didn’t stop things from unfolding the way that they have over recent weeks, but we have no regrets in being so hopeful!

Recently, all of our programs came grinding to a halt. We’d be lying if we told you that we weren’t incredibly saddened by this fact, but we continue to look for ways to inspire people to live a life that cares for others.

As the current pandemic sends waves throughout the earth, LiveDifferent is not isolated from these effects. We’re a special organization, one that is made up of people who genuinely care for each other and during this time, we’re committed to looking for ways to lift each other up.

Know that we are still holding onto our optimism, looking forward to the day when we can resume making life-changing connections through our programs. But in the meantime, we’ll be searching for alternative ways to spread the message that ‘Life is about people’ while finding ways to get others involved.

Coming together is more important now than ever, so if you have stories of connection through distancing, compassionate acts or hope, we’d love to hear and spread them!

The world needs your kindness now more than ever.


Author: Joshua Dueck

Date: March 26th, 2020