'My son IS naughty and lazy,' Connie Au once lamented, just like many other mothers. However, she is not a difficult person. In fact, teenagers may even choose to call her up when they are down and tell her their stories, or even secrets. Ms Au has joined a youth hotline. 'My son was naughty and lazy, so I took a course in which social workers explained to me how to get along better with him. I found that very useful. Now I hope I can help solve others' problems,' said the 47-year-old. Like the other 29 volunteers, the mother of two has honed her counselling skills for the new challenge. She is the only parent among them. 'My teenage colleagues are so enthusiastic in helping others. I think our younger generation are not as bad as they are portrayed in the media. They are our hope for the future,' she said. The volunteers answer calls from frustrated or perplexed teenagers and parents through the newly established Youth Channel. They received two months of training in such counselling skills as listening, asking appropriate questions and giving out positive feedback to callers. The hotline was launched by Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council, which aims to provide professional counselling and advice to help solve incoming queries. While Ms Au is relatively new at handling calls, her colleague Chad Chan Wing-fung, who is pursuing his associate degree of social science in Lingnan University, is an old hand. Mr Chan joined the hotline last August to handle inquiries about the HKCEE. 'I received a call from a mother asking for information about Form Six, but she seemed uncertain as to what she needed and sounded nervous,' said the 21-year-old. 'Later, as we talked, I found that she did not know much about her son's situation and I advised her to talk to him,' he added. For the past nine years the hotline has been open in August, mainly for queries about Form Six admission requirements and choices. Last year, the hotline received about 100 calls. Six lines will be operating from 2pm to 10pm from Monday to Sunday. Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council is under Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, which counsels youths, families and immigrants. The Youth Channel can be contacted on 3188 3008.