For over a year now, I have been doing volunteer work for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I am a communications liason, which basically means that I help answer Colleen’s emails.
In the past few years, as her message has been discovered by many thousands of people through her excellent podcast, she has received many letters from her listeners, fans of her books, audience members during her speaking engagements etc. Now, if Colleen, were to reply to all of these, I don’t think she would have time to do any other work! My job is to answer these emails as best as I can.
The emails that Colleen receives might be a nutrition question, a challenge they face being vegan, the heartache they experience when they first realise what is happening to animals or most often, a letter of thanks to Colleen and an expression of the joy they feel living this lifestyle.
How am I qualified to do this? Well, since becoming vegan, I have listened to Colleen’s podcasts many, many times. First of all they were just enjoyable to listen to but more importantly, I learnt many communication strategies through her and also I have an in-depth knowledge of her work and her message. I also NEEDED to listen many times. The ideas were so radically different to those that I had, I needed to listen to them multiple times in order to internalise the ideas expressed in them. This means that I am able to point people to which of Colleen’s resources they might find helpful and if that is not available, I keep up to date with so many other blogs and podcasts so they can get the resources they need. I don’t want to give anyone a reason to go back to eating animal products. I also think I am able to provide some guidance to those that write to Colleen. When writing for Colleen, I always try to stay empathetic and remember my own story.
The benefits I receive by doing this work, far outweigh the precious time I spend writing them. First of all, it gives me hope. When I just feel saddened by the incredible scale of animal suffering, I just have to read an email to know that people are changing and waking up and realizing that there is a healthy viable alternative is brilliant. I also get an incredible satisfaction to know that I am helping people by giving them resources, or comfort and of course getting to work with my hero Colleen by doing this work is fantastic. I also love the fact that I get to hone my communication skills by doing this work. Each letter is an opportunity to speak for the animals. The more one practices, the better one becomes. It’s great for my own interactions with the people around me.
So, I have been doing this for a year now. I’ve got my little routine for answering. It usually happens on Friday evening and I hope to be doing to for a long time. I know Colleen appreciates my work (she tells me often and gives such lovely feedback) but I was incredibly humbled the other day when I listened to her podcast.
Each year, she does a podcast where she reads a collection of love letters she has received from people all around the world to give her listeners hope. This year’s episode was nearly 3 hours long! That’s a lot of love letters!
I am tickled pink because at around the 12 minute mark, Colleen takes some time to thank little ol’ me! If you want to hear what she has to say, you can click here and if you want to hear the kind of letters I have the honour of replying to, keep listening. :-)