Staff spotlight: Carmen serves as customer service representative for God

The receptionist team at Catholic Charities of Denver are essential in bringing the works of charity into the hands of those who need it. For the last 17 years, Carmen Spielman has served as one of the customer service representatives for God as the first line of aid when someone calls in need of emergency assistance.

With an average of 30 to 40 incoming calls a day, the work can be emotionally taxing. When Colorado weather hits extreme cold or hot temperatures, that number can grow even higher. For many that reach for the phone to call our hotline, it is the lowest point of their lives. Carmen offers words of encouragement to each person using the agency’s trauma informed care model that aims to recognize, understand and empathize with the impact of trauma on an individual. To those experiencing these traumatic moments, Carmen is a godsend.

Carmen is visually impaired but connects with the voices on the line as if they were right in front of her. “I tell everyone that they will get through these hard times. That they are a child of God and that He is with them through every step,” said Carmen.

She recalls many moments where God worked through her to carry out the tough phone calls. One memorable phone call was from a woman fleeing domestic violence who was frantically seeking shelter for her family during the cold months. Carmen gently walked her through all the resources available at Catholic Charities and helped her get connected to housing.

The unknown of where those who call her may go after they hang up the phone is a hurdle she offers up to God. But sometimes, people make sure to call the woman who walked them through some of the toughest moments in their lives. A sweet woman named Carmen who told them that all would be okay.

The woman who was once experiencing domestic violence did just that a few weeks ago. She called Carmen to thank her and said that she wanted to give back to help those in the same situation. Instead of offering resources during that call, Carmen gave her information on how to volunteer and donate.

“I have to remind myself that I am not in command. That God is the one who will really make an impact during the darkest of days, but I will assist the best I can. It gets me through the hard days,” says Carmen. “I tell everyone I come in contact with that they matter.”