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2024 TELL Legend Awards Kathy Burton Lewis

2024 TELL Legend Awards Kathy Burton Lewis

2024 TELL Legend Awards

Last year, as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, TELL launched the TELL Legends Award. This award recognises present and past individuals who have shown excellence in their work, inspired others, and demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the organisation’s vision of zero suicides. This month, we honor Kathy Burton Lewis’s 28 years of service from 1991 to 2019. Kathy was a trainer, supervisor, and support worker with 2236 hours of direct support on the Lifeline. 

Front left – Kathy Burton Lewis, Ian de Stain, Ethne Ashizawa, and Nancy Kobayashi.

At a commissioning ceremony in 2008, she gave a speech about what TELL means to her. 

Truth—Through training and many years of participating at TELL, I have discovered truths about myself in the way I communicate and listen to others. By making changes that needed to be made and continuing to make them, I think I am a better person in my relationships. 

Effort—TELL means making an effort to be a good support worker. As new support workers, we go through many hours of intensive training, followed by many more hours taking calls and attending monthly supervision meetings. We make this effort to keep our skills in top form so we are ready when that phone rings. 

Loyalty—Keeping confidentiality and respecting the users, the organisation, and each other. 

Life—We listen to a wide variety of users’ needs, sometimes as easy as giving a referral or number, but we also hear sad stories of shattered lives. Using the skills we have learned and keeping unconditional positive regard for the users, we may offer a chance of healing and hope for a better life. 

Kathy is an individual who constantly goes above and beyond in everything she does. She has helped train hundreds of volunteers and supported many more to become TELL support workers, helping to create a better, more compassionate community for everyone. Thank you, Kathy. You are an inspiration to others and a TELL Legend.