I had just graduated from University and I was really nervous and unsure about getting a job and what I wanted to do. I knew what I wanted from a job but not what type of job I wanted. Speaking to someone from Engage, they put me in touch with Sarah (volunteer coordinator at WC?S). At this point I only knew a little about WC?S and care experience young people. I felt from this conversation that this was something I would enjoy and could have an impact on. From being at school, I felt that for me and others the system failed us and I wanted to be part of making a positive difference for other young people facing other difficulties. I felt driven to be part of something that was going to bring about positive change for young people.
I go to the Wee Diamond’s group every fortnight. This is a group for primary school aged young people with experience of care to come together, make friends, have fun and start understanding what care experience means in a fun safe way. Here, I plan and lead activities, get involved in games and support young people to participate, spend time talking to the young people and giving them quality time. Also, I help to educate on the meaning of care experience and helping young people to celebrate their care identity.
Helping out at the Halloween parade. Young people made their own costumes with a little help 2/ 3 weeks before. I was so proud of the young people as they were proud of themselves for what they had done and watching them interacting with others at the parade. I was proud of them for what they had achieved. For some young people it took a lot of courage for them to even get there but through support and encouragement I saw them embrace it and over come some personal challenges.
I feel personally, I have changed. I used to be nervous and wasn’t very confident, at the groups I would chose to be in the background and not lead on anything. Now I feel more comfortable and confident, now I am happy to take a lead in the groups and throw myself in to the activities. I am also more confident interacting with the young people and have built relationships. I am more confident to even do things like this which I would never have done even a few months ago. Volunteering at the group has allowed young people to build a good relationship with me, trust me, talk to me and know that I want to spend time with them, hopefully making them feel valued.