21 Questions with Teen Hero Honoree, Clifford Ki

Clifford’s commitment to our outreach program is above and beyond.  He brings his genuine empathy, enthusiasm, and passion for helping others to every presentation.  

Cheryl Eskin, Teen Line Program Director

Clifford with Grant & Sophie at the 2017 Models of Pride event.

1. How long have you been with Teen Line?

I’ve been with Teen Line for around 3 years now.

2. Why did you join Teen Line?

I joined Teen Line at first because I was looking for a volunteer opportunity that was different. Honestly I didn’t think that this experience would shape me like it did, but I am forever grateful for the skills Teen Line has taught me.

3. How have your grown as a person since started volunteering at Teen Line?

It’s kinda weird to say because it’s like I’m praising myself, but it feels like I’ve truly grown to become more empathetic towards people’s struggles. Teen Line kinda forces you to see everyone’s side of the story and even if their views and opinions don’t necessarily match with mine, I’ve learned to not take my own views and try to help others in the best way that I possibly can.

4. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

That I can’t solve the callers problems in one call. At first it was hard whenever I had a call that either ended too fast or the outcome was not something that I was expecting nor wanting. However, the RA’s helped me realize that just listening to a person’s problem is sometimes enough.

5. What brings you the greatest satisfaction?

For me, knowing that someone has anyone to talk to brings me the greatest satisfaction. I think that no-one should go through their struggles alone and to be the person that they can talk to and confide in for help, brings me the most joy.

6. What does your perfect day ends with?

My perfect day ends with a little music session on my speaker. It’s kinda a ritual to jam out to some music and just relax before going to bed.

“Clifford is a star. Whenever we need help with videos or social media media campaigns, he is always available to help.” – Shar, Teen Line Admin. Assistant

7. If you can have any job in the world, what would it be?

I would be a music therapist. I’ve been playing piano for over 10 years now and I think taking the skills I’ve cultivated at Teen Line and combining that with music would be a cool way to help other people.

8. If there was plane that could take you anywhere in the world, where would it take you?

It would take me to South Korea. Almost all of my family is in South Korea and to be able to go there is something I find extremely valuable.

9. What do you do for self-care?

I do a skin care routine. Whenever I get too stressed, either from school or work, I start to break out. So whenever I do break out I remember that I need to take a little time to recollect my thoughts and have time for myself and do a little treatment.

10. Who do you admire and why?

I admire Ruth B. Ginsburg. I think that for someone to overcome societal views and be one of the best in their respected fields is the greatest achievement anyone can do.

11. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you as long as you accept yourself. It took a long time to actually not care what people think of me but through high school I realized that no matter what I do, someone will find fault in it; so I decided to just do what I want.

12. What song can you listen to and never get tired of?

Starlight by Muse.

13.   Give me one reason why someone should call Teen Line?

Because everyone at Teen Line truly cares about each person that calls into the hotline. We genuinely want to help so whenever you call, you will get a focused and dedicated teen on the other line.

14.   If you were given a one-minute ad slot during the Super Bowl that you couldn’t sell, what would you fill it with?

I would fill it with an ad for teen suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in teens. I understand that it’s a morbid and sad topic to put on a Super Bowl ad but I think that it’s imperative for there to be more awareness on this and for people to care more about this subject.

15.   What makes a good Teen Line listener?

Like the name says, a good Teen Line listener needs to listen. Someone calling in just wants someone to talk to and I think that biggest comfort we can give is just being a caring ear for that person to talk to and rant to.

16.   How can we change decrease mental health stigma?

Bringing awareness. Whether it be through social media or mainstream media, bringing light to mental health and ways to get help would decrease the stigma. I think that everyone has a problem that they face daily, and to normalize the fact that we can have problems and there are ways to get help would tremendously de-stigmatize mental health.

17.   What’s your favorite season and why?

My favorite season is fall. I love the fashion during the fall the best: light jackets and sweaters, jeans. 

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18.   To help people, would you rather have the power to read minds or the power of persuasion?

I think I would rather have the power to persuade people. Even if you can read someone’s mind, you can’t necessarily persuade them to think and act the way you think is right. I believe that everyone has the right to their opinion, but if it means changing their minds would help them, I would rather have the power to persuade.

19.   What will you miss most about Teen Line?

I’ll miss the friends that I’ve made over the past 4 years.

20.   One thing I’m epic-ally bad at:

One thing I’m epic-ally bad at is getting up in the morning. I am not whatsoever a morning person and it takes around 10 different alarms to get me up. Even with theses alarms, I need to answer 3 math problems to turn them off.

Here Clifford is front and center with other Teen Line Volunteers after helping out with interviews.

21.   What is you favorite part about Teen Line?

My favorite part about Teen Line is the people. I have made so many connections with so many different kinds of people and I cherish each and every relationship I’ve made.

The Teen Line Food for Thought Brunch will be on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center. We will be honoring Clifford Ki, as well as other admirable teen volunteers. For event and ticket info, click here.


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