Not every story has a happy ending.

But at least we have Helpers.

 You’re quarantining.

It’s just you and your down+autistic child (a rare combination) who has a mental disability that sometimes makes him violent. How do you cope? You call Psychologist Gisella Kulys. 

Lic. Kulys is a psychologist working with Helpers in Uruguay. And during an interview with her, she revealed that she signed up to volunteer her services as a way to combat her own feelings of solitude. 

Lic. Gisella Kulys volunteers her psychiatry services

Though she works with many clients, one stands out to her. She referred to it as being a profound case. Let’s call her Maria. She’s 67 years old, which puts her at a high risk for contracting COVID-19. During the pandemic, she was unable to get her psychologically disabled son the medication he needed and the therapy he was used to receiving regularly (in person). Confused as to why he couldn’t go out, and without the proper medications, her son became aggressive and violent with his mother.

Helpers, an emergency volunteer organization in Argentina and Uruguay was able to get the young man the prescription he needed without putting the family at risk. Volunteers brought his drugs straight to their home. Maria was also gifted counseling by phone to help her cope with the day-to-day difficulties of the situation. COVID-19 not only interrupted much needed therapy for her son, but it also prevented him from making routine visits to a center he used to visit for socializing during the daytime.   

Kulys shares the message she received following the closure of her 5-session therapy program with Maria*. The original message is below in Spanish.

A message for you: Appreciation to you for the time you dedicated to me and the happiness you gave me with your beautiful volunteering. I am hoping to one day return the favor to this beautiful little country and all that it has given me, and I would love to volunteer and give a hand to all of the mother that have been in my situation. They have no guides and don’t know how or where to start. Hugs and a big kiss — 

Un mensaje para ti, para agradecerte por el tiempo que me dedicaste y felicitarte por tan hermoso voluntariado.  Tengo pendiente algún día devolverle al hermoso paisito, todo lo que me dió, y, me encantaría hacerlo con un voluntariado y darle una mano a todas esas madres que han pasado por mi situación y ellas por no tener una guía no supieron ni saben cómo ni por dónde volver a empezar..  Abrazos y un beso muy grande.  

Shalom Corps asked simply “How did the volunteer-work make you feel?”

“Without doubt, I felt more that this was about what I got from this mother than what I was able to give to her. She never complained and everything she did was out of love for her son.

Lic. Gisella Kulys

Kulya says the last she heard from Maria, her son had been taken away and put into a home to be evaluated and monitored.

Kulya is one of thousands of volunteers who operate in the Shalom Corps network.