I am currently studying Psychology and was introduced to Ormiston Families in 2016, through my University. I started as a Heads Up Facilitator and volunteered at a primary school in Cambridge once a week. The Heads Up service is for children and young people in the East Cambridge and Fenland area who may have emerging mental health needs. We do engaging activities with the children to help them explore their feelings and emotions. We have done activities that explore the themes of friendship, self-worth and emotional resilience.
I am now volunteering on a programme called Positive Pathways, which is a 12 week course for mothers and children who have experienced Domestic Abuse. I am volunteering within the children’s team. We encourage the children to explore their feelings and provide them with a safe space to talk about what they have experienced. The course supports the children to grow in their confidence and self-esteem.
The children are the best part about these roles, they are so inspiring, and at times I feel like I’m learning more from them. It’s also been amazing to see the real transformation in some of the children’s wellbeing, even after a short period of time. For me, seeing the real impact in the lives of young people is invaluable and extremely rewarding.
My organisational skills have definitely been tested, I have grown in my confidence to deliver well-planned sessions and I feel more independent. It is difficult to sum up what I have learnt because I genuinely feel like I have learnt so much even in a short period of time. But overall listening skills are the most important thing in this role; really taking the time to empathise with the children is a fundamental necessity.
I am interested in working within the mental health sector, and I am particularly interested in working with children and adolescents. Interventions that involve interactive play and creative activities seem to work well for this age group. These roles have inspired me further to pursue my goals of working within this sector. It also opened my eyes to the possibility of training to become an art, play or family therapist.
Volunteering with Ormiston Families has really enriched my university experience as the practical role really compliments the theoretical knowledge I am gaining in my course.