Posted 08:28AM on Monday 06 June 2016
It’s Volunteers’ Week – celebrating the contribution to society of everyone who gives up their time to help others. At Positive Futures, we couldn’t exist without our volunteers. In recognition, we’ll be telling the stories of different volunteers throughout the week.
First, Lucy from our Lisburn Family Support Service.
She writes: “I’m Lucy. I’m 19 years old and taking a gap year following my A levels. I have been a volunteer with Positive Futures for nearly two years.
“It was the idea of my granddad, who had been volunteering with Positive Futures’ child and adult services for five years and thought I would enjoy it because I love working with children. When I first started, I volunteered once a week for after–school activities, but now I volunteer four or five days a week. The activities I am involved in include swimming on Monday and Tuesday, both with different age groups; after–school activities on Wednesday, again with a range of age groups; and every other Friday I support a buddy group of two adults to go to the gym. I also support a group of three adults on a Saturday. The activities include social activities such as cinema shopping, bowling and other recreation.
“Volunteering with Positive Futures has helped me in many ways. It has boosted my confidence and self–esteem, which played a big role when I was applying for university.
“That’s one of the great things about volunteering. It benefits not just the children and adults but the volunteers too. I can see the impact it has on all of the people we support, and it’s great to see them develop physically as well as having fun and learning. It is heart–warming to see them come such a long way and have more confidence in themselves, to see them communicate with each other and hopefully make some friends for life. My advice for anyone thinking of volunteering with Positive Futures is that volunteering can be for anyone. It can help you come out of your shell like it did for me, and develop your communication skills not only with young people but with adults too. There’s something for everyone and you can suit it to your talents, school or work.
“Sadly, I won’t be able to volunteer with Positive Futures when I head off to university in Scotland. I’ll miss the people, staff and other volunteers.”