VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION
These testimonials are a few years old and not a 100% reflection of the actual volunteer roles available today.
PROJECT NAME: CARER’S SUPPORT BEXLEY
Information about the project
In this project you’re a social care worker, going into the homes of families. There, you care for a disabled child, adult or an elderly or dementia-suffering person. This gives the family carer (the one in the family who actually looks after the person) a break.
Information about myself
I turned 19 during the year. I had just finished school and was living on my own for the first time. I’m a young woman from Germany with a big family and enjoy being with people.
What was a working day like?
Usually, I worked 7-8 hrs a day, typically 10-2 and 4-8 (at an elderly client during the day and at the home of a child during the evening) or 10-5 at one client’s. Getting to work by bus can take up to 1 hour each way. At the clients, I did a vast number of things: playing and going out (to the park, swimming pool, woods,…) with children; getting people in wheelchairs out by pushing them about the town or simply looking after an elderly person, trying to give some stimulation by activities like having chats and walks and doing puzzles. I helped toileting and it was sometimes hard and sometimes I had a really boring day as well (only telly, just sitting next to a person who basically sleeps through the day), but I had great variety and had a lot of control over what I did in the work developing my own self-reliance.
What did you enjoy about living in a different culture?
I enjoyed learning the small differences between two cultures in Europe (there are a lot!). This also makes me appreciate more what I have in my country. I enjoyed my “adult-life” here. But most of all, I enjoyed meeting a huge lot of very different people from many places: on the one hand – the volunteers and locals in my leisure time, and on the other hand the families I worked with very different living backgrounds.
What did you achieve?
I achieved my independence. I managed to live on my own, with people from different cultures and countries, so I think I am well-prepared for other ways of living as a student. I met many people and made very close friends, which is brilliant. And it makes me feel more confident about finding friends and being all right in new living conditions. I know how to deal with challenging situations. I know how to keep friendships up, even over long-distances. I became a lot more open-minded. I became more relaxed and self-confident as well.
I am really grateful for this year and I feel I achieved more aims than I ever had.