We love when it’s time again to spotlight one of our amazing Talkline advocates because it gives us a chance to introduce you to the incredible people who lend their time, energy, and hearts to Backline. This month, we’re featuring Brie Deka, one of our Indiana-based radvocates! Brie has been volunteering on the Talkline for 2.5 years, as well as working alongside our All-Options staff to support clients and families at the Center. She is such a dynamic addition to our team and an ardent champion of our many programs – let us introduce you to her!
How/when/why did you first get involved with Backline and how long have you been volunteering?
Almost 3 years ago I got an e-mail forwarded to me from a professor about Backline seeking volunteers. From my first impression, the organization sounded like a group that valued women, families, being human, and all of the baggage/joy/confusion/love that comes with those. It sounded like a great community,doing even better work, so I applied hoping I could contribute to the cause. I have now been volunteering for 2.5 years! I’ve taken hundreds of calls on the line and worked with numerous families at All-Options. I have also made life-long pals who I can always rely on for a good laugh, a deep conversation, or a long cry.
What’s your favorite thing about being on the Talkline?
My favorite thing about being a Talkline Radvocate would have to be the people that call in and the conversations we share. It is incredible to me how individuals call us and allow themselves to be so vulnerable. To me vulnerability is strength, and our callers are the strongest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with. Through our callers, I have gained this same kind of strength and allow myself, more often, to feel vulnerable and allow others to see it.
What has surprised you most in your work on the Talkline?
The most surprising thing to me is how much I have changed as a person since volunteering with Backline and All-Options. I look at the world differently. I am a better listener. I am kinder to myself and others. All from just this one volunteering experience! I knew before I was on the line that the world was a crazy, wonderful, stupid place, but hearing about it from my callers has altered my universe. Thank you to anyone who has ever called Backline, and a special thanks to those with whom I have spoken.
Why is an all-options approach to reproductive health and support so important?
Looking at reproductive support through an all-options lens is essential. There are over 6 billion lives on this planet, 6 billion different stories and countless circumstances. How could anything other than an all-options approach keep the planet from imploding? All-options means full support, across the board, no ifs, ands, or buts. Because only you know your story, you are the only person who knows your life, and those who subscribe to the all-options approach are just waiting nearby waiting for you to decide what’s next. I believe an all-options model can truly change the world.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your Backline colleagues.
How can I surprise people who already know me inside and out? Also, I live a pretty average, boring life….no extra toes, quirky habits, or extraordinary skills. So let’s go with my all-time favorite movie – Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement! Yes, the sequel. It’s incredibly embarrassing, but I could watch Princess Diaries 2 every day for a month and still love it. Anne Hathaway is a treasure. Oh, and remember, “A queen is never late, everyone else is simply early.” But I’m sure Julie Andrews meant to say “Kween!”
What is your favorite thing to do for fun?
Does napping count? No, I need to appear more adventurous and productive than that! So I have a pupper, his name is Mycah. A lovely, hyper, 3-year-old Border Collie. One of my favorite things is to take him swimming at a nearby lake. The dude LOVES water…as long as it isn’t a bathtub! I love watching Mycah in his little life-jacket, splashing around and swimming after anyone that gets too far away from the group. It brings a guaranteed smile to my face every time.
If Backline’s mission were achieved and all people had the support and resources they needed for pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption experiences, where would you volunteer your time?
Okay, that sounds like paradise! The world would be perfection, so I’d just sleep instead. Oops, that’s the lazy answer again. Animals are cute, I could see myself volunteering at a local animal shelter, getting all of the cat nuzzles and puppy kisses!