These are some of the most commonly asked questions. If you don't see an answer to your question here - please contact us.
Q: Is Your Life Counts a charity?
A: Yes. We are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency 13589-1257-RR0001 Find us at the CRA website
Q: What is your legal name?
A: Your Life Counts! International Inc
Q: What are the common names you are known as?
A: Your Life Counts; YLC
Q: How are you constituted as a charity?
A: We are a federally incorporated charity registered by letters patent with Industry Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency
Q: When was Your Life Counts established?
A: In 2000
Q: Who is the founder of Your Life Counts?
A: Rory Butler
Q: Who were the founding Board Members?
A: Rory Butler, Mark Morin, Jim Hewitt and Brian Patterson
Q: Do you have founding patrons?
A: Yes, the late Colonel John A Butler, MC & Mrs Sheila Butler, Mrs Ann Macpherson, Rev Bruce Thomson & Mrs Margaret Thomson, Mr Dennis Bruce, Mr Armando David Vacca & Mrs Lori Vacca, Rev David Brown & Mrs Susan Brown, Rev Bruce Srigley and Mr Kirby Shieck
Q: Do you have a Board of Directors?
A: Yes. as a registered charity we are governed by the Charities Legislation and we take our responsibility seriously. You can read about our board of directors here.
Q: Do you have an Advisory Board?
A: Yes, we consider it is important to take advice on the bigger decisions from time to time. We are fortunate to have the counsel of some amazing people. You can read about our Advisory Board here.
Q: What is your mission?
A: "YOUR LIFE COUNTS (YLC) is a critical front line resource working with youth, families, veterans, serving military personnel and emergency services in the battle against trauma, addictions and overwhelming life situations that may lead to thoughts of suicide. Through our unique outreach tool the “Online Lifeline” and extensive life affirming online and offline resources, YLC is dedicated to preventing suicide and intervening and supporting individuals who may be suicidal, and provides guidance and help to families who have lost a loved one to suicide. YLC saves lives! YLC is also passionate about creating and promoting leading edge, life-affirming strategies to meet the needs of individuals, including, ongoing empathic support, education, research, empowerment, training and advocacy through its resources, alliances, and programs worldwide." You can read more about what we believe here.
Q. How do you reach out?
A. By word of mouth, recommendation, special events and via our online response centre supported by advocacy, education and awareness programs in schools, the community and the workplace. Social media is playing an increasingly significant role in our outreach. Find out more here.
Q: Can anyone apply to volunteer with YLC?
A: Almost anyone can apply but that does not mean we accept every application. Please bear in mind we have worked very hard to build a solid reputation and we continue to safeguard and protect our reputation for all good reasons. It follows that we are very careful and selective about who comes on to our team. We're careful because we understand the significance each time anyone wants to give of their time as a Volunteer to our organization. We're humbled and grateful for the amazing work accomplished by our Volunteers but at the same time we are protective of our team and of the vulnerable people (youth and families) with whom we work closely. It is therefore important that the right people join our team and for others it may well be that YLC is a starting point for consideration as they explore Volunteer opportunities with other organizations. There are all kinds of opportunities to volunteer with YLC which do not require the Volunteer to work directly with vulnerable people. We're happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions and encourage you to get in contact with us. We do ask people to view their possible involvement with YLC seriously and to treat their work with YLC as professionally as if they were being paid to do the job. We are a charity operating under an umbrella of accountability and our volunteers are no exception.
Q: What is the minimum age to volunteer with YLC?
A: 13, all volunteer involvements with students must have the written consent and active involvement of their school, together with parental/ guardian consent to the age of 18. We have these protocols in place to protect all concerned and to ensure accountability.
Q: Do you accept everyone who wants to volunteer?
A: No, we have an application and screening process and are not obligated to accept any application - even if the person has relevant skills, training and experience. We are grateful to all who apply and express an interest in the work of Your Life Counts but we are very careful to ensure that people who join our team are a good fit - not only for us, but for them too. Sometimes people want to volunteer for reasons that are very understable - they may have experienced some major trauma and loss and want to help others for all kinds of reasons. They may have undertaken training and on paper have all the training that we would require of a volunteer. This does not mean that someone automatically can work on the front lines with Your Life Counts. As we've said, we're careful and cautious for all good reasons and trust that you will understand. We encourage you to get in touch with us and apply if you feel this is something you really feel able to commit to. Sometimes we find that the application process with YLC can lead the individual into other areas of service or possibly even open the door for him/ her to receive more support for the trauma that he/ she has experienced as sometimes can be needed and is appropriate. In a very positive way people move forward in the process. We want our Volunteers to feel happy and fulfilled in their work and involvement with Your Life Counts. This is important to us.
Q: What is the time requirement in terms of involvement that you are looking for from potential volunteers?
A: We suggest somewhere in the range of 3-5 hours a week but really depends on the individual and his/ her circumstances. We encourage people to be realistic about the time they truly have available as we want people to enjoy their involvement with us and to feel fulfilled in whatever their involvement with us.
Q: What qualities do you look for in a Volunteer?
A: Loyalty, commitment and a willingness to learn/ improve and work at a high level of excellence just as you would if you were in a paid job.
Q: What experience do I need to volunteer with Your Life Counts?
A: This depends on your involvement with our organization. We do prefer people to have had experience of working with others in a voluntary organization however we also recognize that this is not always possible and that we can only gain experience by getting experience. We ask all applicants to be realisitic in their expectations of what they may want to achieve in their volunteer work with Your Life Counts. For instance, if an individual wants to help develop a particular web component for our website that will work seamlessly with our existing web platform then it is fair for all concerned to expect him/ her to have the abilities and experience neccesary to carry out this work without needing external specialist input. If the individual does not have the relevant skills and experience then it will be impossible for him/ her to complete their task and precious time would be wasted all round.
Q: What qualifications do I need to volunteer with Your Life Counts?
A: This depends on the role you undertake. If, for instance, you were to take a counseling role within the organization we would be looking for a counseling qualification and background as well as the completion of approved training in suicide prevention as with the programs of Living Works or similar. At a baseline we are working towards all volunteers completing the Living Works SafeTalk program and for those who may be working in any way with vulnerable people to have completed the Living Works ASIST program.
Q: What are the training requirements for potential volunteers?
A: Again this depends on the involvement of the individual in their role with Your Life Counts. In respect of the online lifeline we need people who have relevant experience, training and qualifications. Currently our small team of facilitators with the online lifeline is comprised of people with experience, training, qualifications and background in counseling together with suicide prevention training to Living Works ASIST level and beyond. The opportunities to be involved with the online lifeline are frankly very limited for people who do not have this prior training and experience.
Q: Do you require a Police Background check for Volunteers?
A: Yes, we require all volunteers to have a Police background check for working with vulnerable people. The only exception would be for someone under the age of 16 who is involved in a specific activity supervised by his/ her school - for instance, a 13/14/15 year old guy/ girl workings as a team on a Saturday morning doing a community car wash as a fund and awareness raiser for Your Life Counts.
Q: I have a criminal conviction from my past that has involved children. I have been conviction free for 30 years. Can I apply to work with you?
A: We are grateful for your interest in Your Life Counts and we truly wish you all good things in your life. We cannot however accept an application from you to work with us as a matter of policy and procedure. There are no exceptions as a matter of policy and procedure. We trust you will understand.
Q: Do you have a office and/or crisis center/phone line located in Calgary?
A: We have a satellite office in Calgary for the development of Your Life Counts Alberta Chapter led by Linda Gardiner – it works in parallel with our online response centre in Ontario.
Q: Who responds to people on the online helpline and what qualifications do they have?
A: Our online facilitator(s) have a background in social work/ counseling/ psychology/ psychiatry and education. All have relevant skills, qualifications and experience and work at a professional level. Our team have been trained to Living Works ASIST level or equivalent and beyond.
Q: Do youth mentor youth on the online helpline?
A: No. We do not minimalize the effectiveness of youth support but for the work of the online lifeline we work at a professional level even though we do not advertise ourselves as such at this time. We are working on several initiatives that require funding support to accomplish our goals in the expansion of our professional support services. We encourage youth mentoring in our school programs and relationships and continue to develop youth capacity in this regard.
Q: More FAQ about the Online LifeLine are answered here.
Q: Is Your Life Counts registered with the Police?
A: Yes, we are a registered agency with the Niagara Police Service and we partner with Police agencies and other associated agencies across North America and around the world.
Q: Where do you get your funding from?
A: From individuals, corporations, grants and special events fundraising.
Q: Can I get a tax receipt for my donation?
A: Yes, for all Canadian tax payers we will issue a tax deductible receipt for any donation over $20. You can donate here.
Q: How will my support financially help save lives?
A: 90% of our efforts are focussed on the development and delivery of our programs. We are working on building our capacity considerably and every dollar makes a difference.
Q: Can I donate things other than money?
A: Yes, as long as the item is serviceable we can issue a tax receipt for the fair market value for the item(s) whatever it/they is/are. For example you can donate your vehicle; stocks and shares; real estate; equipment; fine artl furniture etc. YLC also gladly welcomes volunteers. Find out more about giving here.
Q: I live in the USA – can I make a donation to YLC?
A: Yes, absolutely but we are not able to issue a tax receipt at the moment - this will change shortly. If you do not need a tax receipt the amount can still be received from anywhere in the world through our global payment partner, PayPal.
Q: Do you raise enough money to cover your costs?
A: We are working hard to build our capacity but we are not yet at the point where we have all our baseline costs covered. We are very grateful to our probono partners and our volunteers without whose help we would not exist.
Q: We see you have relationships with some major corporations – surely they give you all the funding you need?
A: We are grateful to our probono (service in kind) partners who provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of service in kind at no cost to YLC. We could not write a cheque for all the goodwill help we receive but it is important you understand this help is in kind; it is not cash support. We still need cash in the bank to pay our bills just like everyone else. Find out more about our corporate probono supporters here.
Q: Do you receive Government funding?
A: No. Currently there is no formal Government plan for suicide prevention work in Canada...so this means there is no funding that can be applied for because there is no funding set aside by the Government to help agencies like YLC with this life saving work. Read about how YLC has made efforts in Canadian parliament here.
Q: Why is there no Government funding?
A: You need to ask the Government about that. Right now, Canada is one of two countries in the G8 group of countries not to have a formal national suicide prevention strategy. Canadian expertise has provided guidelines to the World Health Organization on the development of such strategies but right here on the doorstep we have nothing in place. It needs to change and that is why YLC is working hard to help change things. Read about how YLC has made efforts in Canadian parliament here.
Q: So if there is no Government funding how do you raise funds?
A: It’s through relationships; through individuals like you and by application to corporations and foundations. We have a long way to go with all of this and there’s much work to be done.
Q: Do you have a fundraising ethical code?
A: Yes, we are working towards registration with Imagine Canada the benchmark authority in Canada for ethical fundraising.
Q: Do you hire outside fund raising consultants?
Q: Do you do door to door fundraising or call people at home on the phone who have not given their authority to you to call them?
Q: Do you pay commission to fundraising sales people?
Q: How many full time staff do you have?
A: We have one – the Founder – we are working hard to expand our full time team but we need the funds to do this. All that we have achieved and offer as an organization is due to the incredible volunteer efforts of some amazing people working with us in all kinds of ways at YLC.
Questions about our strategy
Q: What do people say to you about suicide prevention?
A: A lot of the comments we received are echoed in a Your Life Counts National Poll conducted by the world leading research company Harris Decima that shows Canadians are concerned about the problem of suicide in the country. 96% of Canadians polled said they felt suicide should be talked about freely without fear or shame and 84% of Canadians said they wanted the Government to do more to help those working in suicide prevention. Please take the time to read the poll information here.
Q. I’ve heard people say that suicide is a mental health problem – what do you think?
A. We believe that suicide is a community health issue and agree with the position of Living Works from Calgary, Alberta who grew out of volunteer work with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Calgary South Region) in the mid-1970’s. Living Works are world leaders in suicide prevention and their training programs (ASIST; safeTALK; suicideTALK and suicideCare) have established a benchmark of excellence and effectiveness that has been adopted in many countries around the world.
Living Works Quote:
“We hold that suicide is best viewed broadly as an issue for the entire community. We invite those with social, public or mental health perspectives to join this broader perspective. Everyone who wants to help is welcome. Many so called “ordinary” citizens have made anything-but-ordinary contributions to suicide prevention in modern times. We reject any attempt to maintain an exclusionary position. To make suicide one group’s territory is to re-stigmatize suicide in modern clothing by implying that suicide is so special, dangerous or unusual that only some can deal with it. Such a restriction also reduces the range and numbers of people who could help prevent suicide. Suicide is not the domain of any one discipline or viewpoint. We need everyone, working together, to bring an end to the long history of avoiding the community consequences of suicide.” Visit Living Works here.
Q: How do you help people?
A: We have our online lifeline where we respond one on one to individuals for as long as they need us. We steady people when they are unsteady. Our interactive web resource and programs in schools and the community complement our efforts and give continuity. We are raising awareness around suicide prevention and helping to educate all ages about the dangers; what to look for and what to do to save lives.
Q. What training do you advocate and engage in your work?
A. We recognize the ASIST program – a world benchmark training in suicide prevention designed and facilitated worldwide from Calgary, Alberta by Living Works Inc. The superb resources of Living Works which include ASIST, safeTALK; suicideTALK and SuicideCare grew out of volunteer work with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Calgary South Region) in the mid-1970’s. Today, the ASIST program is accepted worldwide as the most recognized and respected training for suicide prevention available. YLC is working towards ensuring all of our front line workers are ASIST and associated program trained as quickly as our resources allow..
Q. How does YLC help students in particular apart from school presentations and special events, etc?
A. When the speaking engagement is over, YLC stays behind by way of our virtual presence via our website. So often some very excellent speakers visit schools and do an excellent job. However when he/ she leaves the school it is so often the case that there is little or no follow up and the youth are left to cope on their own. For the very reasons that prevented them from reaching out for the help in their school community, the same reasons will often ensure they do not reach out for help. All students know they can contact the YLC online lifeline where they will be listened to unconditionally and will receive help and guidance for as long as it takes to steady them and help them on their way in life. In other words our website presence gives continuity of contact and care – keeping pathways of hope open – so important in keeping our youth alive.
Q: So if everything is online is that really effective? How can a computer save lives?
A: A computer is only as good as the person who is behind it or who programs it. In the case of Nadia Kajouji, sister of YLC Ambassador Marc Kajouji, the internet was used as a tool by a predator to encourage her to take her life. The relationship online was sufficiently strong enough to influence Nadia to take her life. So if the internet and the online relationship could exercise so much power to actually kill someone then our position here at YLC is that by engaging the same technology and by keeping pathways to hope open with our online lifelines, resources and programs, we can encourage people to stay alive. YLC does work!
Q: How many lives have you saved?
A: Since 2000 there are over 500 people alive today because of the help they have received through YLC. These are just the lives we know about. There are doubtless many more people who have been helped through our work and according to our experts around us these numbers may well be many hundreds.
Q: Are there any conditions to the help you extend to people?
A: We work with people unconditionally no matter who they are or where they are from or what they believe in. We are understandably cautious that everyone who works with YLC does so in safety and for those reasons we have in place certain policies and conditions that are intended to safeguard privacy, health and well being.
Q: Do you work with the emergency services?
A: Yes, the emergency services are key partners and community stakeholders in the work of YLC.
Q: How do people get to hear about YLC?
A: Through our tv ads, online presence; word of mouth; posters and banners in schools and in the community. People are also referred to us by other professionals in the community and by other agencies.
Q: Where are you based?
A: It is fair to say that we are spread out geographically as a team. We have a virtual office online where much of our work and outreach is accomplished. We also have a physical base in Welland, Ontario with satellite offices developing. You can find out more about our Welland office here
Q: Does YLC partner/ collaborate with other agencies?
A: Yes, absolutely. We would not be able to do what we do without our strategic and operational partnerships with other agencies and individuals.
Questions about our email response facility
Q: How can I get help from YLC?
A: Contact us directly online at www.yourlifecounts.org
Q: Who answers the emails?
A: We have a growing team of dedicated and trained professionals all engaged in mental health work; counseling and education at competent levels. With more financial resources our online response centre will fast expand. We have a number of individuals who are wanting to work with us full time to help build this much needed resource.
Q: How many emails do you typically respond to each week?
A: We have a regular flow of emails. Each email contact may generate as many as 50 or 100 emails so by multiplying the number of communications we receive we can easily respond to 5,000 + emails a month.
Q. Do you answer every email?
A. Yes. Every email is answered on a priority basis.
Q. Why do you not have instant messaging (texting) or chat rooms as a part of your response?
A. It would be very easy to provide these routes of communication but the guidance we have from our professional advisors – including the police – is that these forms of technology have intrinsic problems not least for issues of personal safety and counseling care. YLC will continue to research and monitor our forward options with the guidance of our professional team.
Q: Do youth mentor youth online with YLC?
A: No. We have made a policy decision that those involved in responding online will be responsible trained adults.
Q: Do you screen your volunteers?
A: Yes. Further, any volunteer that has direct contact with youth is first subjected to vulnerable sector screening through requisite law enforcement agencies.
Questions about our in-school programs
Q: Do you work in schools?
A: Yes, we have several programs that we deliver in schools focussed on stopping bullying; making good life choices and understanding how to cope with relationships and other life stuff that can sometimes overwhelm the individual. We have a team of speakers who work with us and deliver these programs.
Q: Do you charge a fee for school presentations?
A: Yes, we have to because we don’t have the resources to cover our costs.
Q:What are your costs?
A:Depending on distance our costs will vary. We are based in southern Ontario. We need to consider travel; accommodation; subsistence; speakers fee; print resources and any other handouts that may need to be tailored for the event. By involving the school and business community funds can be raised to help sponsor our visit. For school inquiries find out more here.
Questions about our Domain Registrations:
Q: Do you have more than one domain registration?
We currently hold the following domains but this listing is not limited to nor restricted to the foregoing:
- Your Life Matters
- Bully 180
- Project Zero
- Every Life Counts
- Every Life Matters
- My Life Counts
- My Life Matters
- Life Matters
- High 5 For Life
- Mental Health Superheroes
- One Million Reasons To Live
Especially for Educators
Additional Q&A's for educators please click here.
Your Life Counts asserts and protects all of our trademark and patent rights worldwide in respect of each and all of our creative, intellectual and other properties. We will enforce these rights. If you are in doubt as to whether you have breached or are in breach of the rights of Your Life Counts you are encouraged to contact us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org Our Terms & Conditions can be read here.
NOTE: If you have a question we haven’t answered here please email us at email@example.com and we will endeavour to include it here. Many thanks.