It is very nearly a year ago when I went to meet Yvonne & Lynsey for a chat about joining Who Cares? Scotland as a volunteer. The two reasons I remember the date so well joined our family the next day – my son & his partner became Dads to two wee boys age 2 & 1! What an exciting month August last year was!
My training to be a volunteer was very enjoyable and interesting, I must admit when Yvonne & Lynsey suggested me joining the Wee Diamonds group, I was quite unsure as I never think of myself as at all crafty. However, from week one it was just great. The kids were lovely, and the crafts were easy to be involved with. I was surprised at how direct the kids were from day one. ‘Is this your first time?’ I was asked right away before I was even in the hall then at the end, I was asked ‘how did you get on? I replied ’I really liked it, how do you think I did?’ The answer given was ‘I think you did good’….phew!
I was made to feel welcome by Julie, Kareen, Natasha, Theighan & Marta, it quickly became part of my life and I liked the honesty and warmth from the kids. I already have a few memories that will stay with me forever. One is when one girl said to her friend when I was helping decorate their umbrella ‘she’s a good drawer her’ I nearly expired with joy and seriously considered getting that embroidered on a cushion. For my help I was given a square of chocolate from both girls – wasn’t that so kind? Then there was the Christmas party when everyone was there, all the kids looked lovely and there was such a lot of love in the room. It was an emotional night and such a privilege to be part of it. Lastly, just after the Christmas break, on our return to the Wee Diamonds I was greeted by a cannonball at full pelt who gave me an enormous hug and said ‘I missed you’. It’s an amazing group to be part of.
My other volunteering has been at Paisley Grammar school, usually with Lynsey. We go to the lunchtime drop in hub and see who turns up. This too has been enjoyable, sometimes only one or two young people turn up and sometimes there are more. I was encouraged to help one girl with her homework – I do wonder what the teacher thought when it wasn’t in her writing! There has been some interesting and open conversations, I’ve also learned to make a Pom Pom using a Pom Pom maker and not cardboard!
During lockdown, we have all adapted as we have not been able to do the same face to face volunteering, but I have really enjoyed ‘zoom’ time. I took part in the Digital festival – I read some short stories that were put out online for anyone who wanted to listen. This grew into me reading – while filming myself – the Harry Potter books ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ and ‘Chamber of Secrets’ a chapter at a time & them being put on Facebook for anyone who wants to listen. I had never read ‘Harry’ before, nothing prepared me for how good they were….and how much harder some of the words were for a muggle like me. Although, that means I’ve been able the answer HP questions on recent quiz shows…go me!
During lockdown, one of my favourite things has been volunteer Lee’s craft master class on a Thursday, I’ve learned lots, I’ve bought craft things and the young people who have joined have been amazing, they are so keen & enthusiastic, it is a joy to watch them. It has been just amazing to be part of it all & to have heard one person say it was helping them to be part of it, made it all worthwhile.
It’s just lovely to know that in a tiny way, I’m doing something that helps, when you add us ALL up together, it’s a powerful, magical force supporting care experienced young people.