Get to Know 2019 Outstanding Listener Award Recipient, Wyatt Sarkisian

“Wyatt has a natural way of connecting to callers that gets them to open up like they are talking to a friend. He has an empathy that makes callers feel comfortable and cared for.”

Michelle Carlson, Teen Line Executive Director

  • How long have you been with Teen Line?

I have been at Teen Line for nearly three years now.  It took me less than a year to become a listener, and I love Teen Line even more every time I come in!

  • What have you learned from working on the hotline?

I have learned the importance of conversation- we live in an age where we are constantly looking down at our phones, and caught up in social media that leads to increasingly high anxiety and depression rates- we need to lean on each other and check in on each other.  At Teen Line I try to reflect the importance of conversation, honesty, and communication. 

  • You are this year’s Outstanding Listener Award Recipient, what do you think makes a good Teen Line Listener?

I think that I am able to connect with callers super well: on one conversation you may see me doing deep breathes with a caller to encourage them to calm down and be present, and twenty minutes later you may find me laughing with a caller, because we both remember one episode of ‘The Office’ that made us both feel better during a hard time. 

  • Can you share your most memorable phone call or text conversation from working on the hotline?

I mentioned one call in my speech that really stuck out to me.  It was about a girl in Brooklyn, New York, who was dealing with an abusive boyfriend and an unsafe living situation for her and her daughter.  The caller was super appreciative at the end for the help I was able to provide her.  

In addition, I have gotten some really strange calls that have stuck with me for days, even months after I take them.  I have received a few ‘cult’ calls, where the caller is clearly being brainwashed by a cult, but they don’t realize it.  Those calls can be super frustrating and sad. 

  • What is something most people don’t know about you?

I’m big on essential oils. 

  • What are your plans for after High School?

I plan to attend New York University next year, as a Dramatic Writing major at the Tisch School of the Arts.  I want to go into entertainment and become a writer, actor, and hopefully one day talk show host!

  • What will you miss most about working at Teen Line?

I will miss my fellow listeners, and the RA’s.  Teen Line has enabled me to establish relationships with kids and mental health professionals around Los Angeles that I never would have met if it weren’t for the hotline.  

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 Wyatt, as well as other admirable teen volunteers. For event info, click here.


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