In August 2014, I attended the first in-service day of the new school session as a Primary 4 teacher. I was completely unprepared for the potency of the speech I was about to hear and the impact it was to have on me, both professionally and personally.
The content and the essence of that talk and training left me with no doubt that I had to contribute to the work of Who Cares? Initially, I was saddened by my own lack of knowledge about the lives of care experienced children and young adults and, to this day, I believe that every educational practitioner in the country should receive money in mandatory training in this area.
My next step was to make contact with Who Cares? and seek advice on how to help in any way possible. I visited the Glasgow Office and was met by welcoming and friendly staff who were patient and helpful in their approach. I have been extremely fortunate to have been accepted as volunteer for Who Cares? Scotland and this has led to involvement in several events and projects over the last couple of years.
I have attended a Halloween party for younger children in Paisley where I dressed up, played games and made spider biscuits (the absolute limit of my culinary skills). I worked on the ‘Meet and Greet’ desk and behind the stage at UWS Paisley Campus on the evening of ‘Cares Got Talent’. I have been present at two of the annual ‘Time to Shine’ events where my duties have included blowing up helium balloons, setting up tables, manning the Reptile Room, helping at arts and crafts stalls and many other bits and pieces.
I was able to be a part of the Care Family Christmas Dinner on the 25th December. I helped with various tasks throughout the day and enjoyed sitting down to have my Christmas Dinner as part of the family.
The events mentioned above provide perfunctory details of my input at various events. What I have failed to include is how amazing it feels to be a part of these- to be included and welcomed by the children and young adults, to witness their enjoyment and to be part of the conversations they strike up, to be aware of the incredible level of support and encouragement they offer each other and to feel so valued by the staff. There aren’t really words to convey these feelings accurately without sounding like the message on a fridge magnet, but the experiences are real, and my life is enriched because of them.
In conclusion, I offer a thank you to everyone who is a member of the Who Cares? family.
I’m glad to be one of you… Agnes.