Sara's Story

24 January 2024

Hi, my name is Sara and I’m currently in my second year of university studying Psychology and I live in Stockton. When I first started, I knew I wanted to help people, however it wasn’t until starting placements that I knew I wanted to become a children’s counsellor.

It was on these placements I started to think about how much of an impact I was able to have on a young person's life. The only thing I wished I could change was the time I was able to work with each young person. I always wondered to how much of a difference I could make if I was able to be with them over a long period of time.

I started looking around at different volunteering opportunities with young people but wasn’t exactly sure what it was I was looking for. I went back to my tutor to talk about this and was really intrigued when she told me about independent Visitors. I could instantly see how valuable to commitment is to the young people, so we had a chat about what my workload would look like for the duration of Uni. We figured out together what would be manageable volunteer wise alongside my workload and I submitted my application.

I sat the volunteer training and was really pleased at how confident I felt after completing it. I already had a good understanding of children’s well being but was reassured about the practical side of volunteering as well as how to keep myself and my young person safe.

When I was first told there was a 14-year-old girl called Jessie living in a residential not far from me, I of course wanted to know more! My volunteer co-ordinator told me about her interests and I was pleasantly surprised at how much we have in common. Let me tell you, we’ve never had a quiet moment since meeting! We’ve talked about everything you could ever imagine; we’ve laughed till our stomachs hurt and been to so many different places.

When I first applied, I was initially hoping to not only develop my own skills, but to gain experience that would look good on my CV when I qualify. Don’t get me wrong, this role has been invaluable and I’m really proud to say I volunteer. However, it’s more than that. I never expected to form the bond Jessie and I have, she’s like the little best friend I never knew I needed.

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