It may be Valentine’s Day tomorrow and we all know what comes with that…cards, flowers and for some young people taking that step into the unknown and losing their virginity.
These, however, are NOT the ‘V’ plates I want to tell you about losing…
I want to tell you about how becoming a volunteer has changed my life.
The best way to tell this story is like a fairytale (we are doing these at School at the moment so i suppose it is good practice anyway!)
Once upon a time there was a girl called Liz. She had spent 6 months in hospital with a rare brain injury caused by an autoimmune disease. She was frail, had a puffy face and suffered from getting tired very easily. Her whole life had come to a stand still and she struggled with day to day living.
One day, Liz decided that she was bored of staying at home all day, so, with her sister ‘Sarah the carer’ she ventured out into the village where she came across a building called ‘Windward Retirement Home’. Sarah and Liz decided to go along to this place and speak to the lovely old people and help them with arts and crafts once a week.
As Liz started to gain more energy as she recovered she got in touch with the Encephalitis Society and applied to become a Regional Representative. She traveled far and wide to learn about the illness and helped out at the family weekend up in Derbyshire where she was able to build new relationships and feel like she was giving back to those who had been such a huge support throughout her illness.
Looking for a change of scene, Liz decided to leave her role at the old people’s home and go into the local primary School to help out with the young children. From this Liz was able to gain experience on how important education is, and why volunteering with young people can make such a huge difference.
Getting out into the community and feeling like she was making a positive impact on the world allowed Liz to gain in confidence, enough confidence to join Team v. This could well be the most important change that she made since coming out of hospital. Being part of something was so important to Liz and she found it more valuable than anything you can imagine. Not only has it allowed her to flourish as an individual but she has been able to develop as a team player and been involved in amazing campaigns, run by young people for young people about important topical issues.
When Liz realised just what an amazing impact volunteering can have she decided to grasp every opportunity she could get to join up and volunteer as much as possible.
(NOT) THE END
For me, giving back and helping others is what makes life worthwhile. If it isn’t meeting up with a young carer to chat to them and give them some ‘time out’, raising money by running a half marathon or e-mailing people with depression, then there are endless opportunities to make a difference in the world by giving up your time for free.
It may be a while until I get back into ‘real work’, but for the time being I am happy giving up my own time for others and making a difference in their lives.
Losing my ‘V’ plates was the best thing I have ever done.
If you want to lose yours this Valentine’s Day have a look at these websites for some ideas: