Answering the Call

Answering the Call

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For one 30-plus year volunteer, The Janeway Telethon is the gift that just keeps on giving, one joyous phone call at a time

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Barry Lewis Green has been giving his time and talent to children’s hospitals for 32 years – give or take – he adds with a laugh. 

At first, he volunteered where he was living at the time, in Vancouver. “I worked the phone banks there for two years, then when I moved home I said, ‘I want to get involved here and so immediately I reached out to offer my services.’”

“Just because”

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One thing led to another, and before he knew it, he was training the folks taking the donations on the phone lines. Now 30 years later, it’s still very much his thing. Why is that? Just because, he answers. ‘‘I just knew I wanted to keep doing it,” he says

Green, who teaches at the College of the North Atlantic, says he can’t imagine not being involved with The Janeway Telethon. “That’s my gig. And I love it. What’s the most rewarding? Hearing from someone who’s done the training and comes back because they had fun and it made them feel great. It’s a big responsibility, but you also make it fun.”

Green has stories. “My first year on the phone, I went three and a half hours without getting a call and then I got a call and it was for $10,000 and it made the entire shift.”

But it’s not even about the money, he insists. “You know I mean, I could say that the reward, that it’s all about the cause, but the cause goes without saying. I think the biggest thing that I find about it is that a thousand volunteers come together for a weekend and they leave their egos at the door. It’s amazing to see how many different people come together for one cause.”

Green isn’t just training the phone bank volunteers the day of the Telethon, his involvement begins weeks ahead of time training phone bank supervisors. Any idea how many volunteers he’s trained over the years? He pauses. “It’s about 15 shifts a year, so 600 each year, over 30 years, so 600 times 30. 18,000?”

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Never about bottom line

He laughs, admitting he’s never thought about the numbers. “People come back every year; individuals and corporate sponsors, all walks of life, all experiences, but they all do it because they want to.”

Does he have any goals for this year? It’s never about the bottom line, he stresses. “Well, we’ll make what we make, you know? For me, it’s not about beating last year. Each year there’s a new high, some great story from one of the volunteers, something that happened on the phone. Each one of the volunteers ends up with a new core memory from being on the phone taking donations.”

There are a few givens, however. “I know there’s gonna be tons of energy from everyone, and you feed off that, but I also know there are going to be those moments for me personally when I feel like I am just glad I am here again for another year, and that’s what I look forward to most.’’  

Watch Miracle Kid Stories during the 35TH Annual Janeway Children’s Miracle Network Telethon Broadcasting on NTV Saturday, June 1 @ 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. & Sunday, June 2 @ 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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Pam is the Managing Editor of The Newfoundland Herald. As the mother of two, she proudly writes about a life lived simply at home on 'The Rock.' When not interviewing or writing about NL's finest, Pam can be found spending her time in the great Newfoundland outdoors.

One thought on “Answering the Call

  1. Bernice Marsh
    June 3, 2019
    Reply

    First time phone bank volunteer for RBC hour, Barry made the difference for me. The stampede of elephants that had overtaken my stomach was tamed to butterflies as he caused many belly laughs during training.

    • Name: Bernice Marsh
    • Email: bernicemarsh243@hotmail.com
    • : I give permissions to the Newfoundland Herald to use my comment in future publications

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