A Save the Children Volunteer Family Connect Program Coordinator shares this story of a volunteer reflecting on their experience working with a family.
I asked one of our Volunteers, Elizabeth, to tell me about how she became involved with the Volunteer Family Connect program:
“It was by chance really that I came across the advertisement and decided to call.”
Elizabeth explained that she had recently been exposed to complex double grief following the passing of two of her children.
“I saw the ad and thought that maybe this was meant to be. I joined the program to start making steps towards finding something else to do.”
With great emotion Elizabeth shared her memories of the time:
“I was travelling through such high grief, I still am. I was in a fog, my concentration was really low, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.”
Elizabeth said that “the training provided me with something else to focus on, to focus on something other than my grief. Doing the course was a step contributing to my healing.”
Thinking back to the time is clearly difficult for Elizabeth and I gave her a moment before asking her to reflect on the benefits volunteering has for her now. Elizabeth shares with me the difficulty of knowing her children will miss the opportunity to parent, and that she currently has no grandchildren, at a time in her life she thought she would. She smiles and says to me:
“I don’t mean to sound corny but I enjoyed meeting the family I work with so much. Sky is so beautiful and I have a great appreciate for the cycle of life. It surprised me that I was able to embrace the beauty of watching her grow – I enjoyed that time so much with my children, I think it’s been good for me, providing an opportunity to share the joys of her reaching new developmental stages and I know she knows me, she spends so much time with me when I’m there and her mother says, 'she loves you'. It feels nice.”
I ask Elizabeth to define what is significant about the role volunteering with the family provides:
“It provides fulfilment, feeling that I have been of some use to someone else. It provides me with a sense of identity, of self that I have something to give, I am worthwhile for something – It is a stepping stone towards a new life.”
Elizabeth follows with:
“I would like to also add, that although I am only a Volunteer, I would like to thank the organisation, Save the Children, for allowing me this opportunity to represent them in the Community, and in time when feeling stronger, I may be able to reach out and Volunteer my time to another worthwhile organisation.”