After volunteering with One Giant Leap for a year, Shereen is now employed as a Project Practitioner with the group and loves the fact she sees the difference she makes to young peoples’ lives.
What made you volunteer with One Giant Leap?
I actually started off working in Adult Services and I had seen One Giant Leap (OGL) meeting on Monday evenings. They always looked like they were having fun and I was interested to get involved. I had previously volunteered at the Our Voice Conference which I really enjoyed so had already met a few of the OGL members there.
How long did you volunteer for?
I volunteered for just over a year while I had a full time position with Adult Support Services. I’ve worked with Sense Scotland for two years and OGL for nine months.
How did you feel about going from a volunteer to staff member?
I was so excited to become more involved with OGL as I’ve personally seen the difference it makes to young people’s lives. I enjoy meeting new people and their families, and supporting them as they begin the process of transitioning.
Describe a typical day in one the sessions:
Session days are busy! At the start of the day there’s lots of setting up, ensuring we have all the materials for the three or four different activities which will take place. We also prepare all the ingredients for evening meals. When the OGL members arrive, I support them to select their meal, put away personal belongings and enter the sports hall.
As part of my role, I encourage and support volunteers and young people to interact with each other. I really enjoy spending time talking to the group members before we break into our sessions.
I also support the group to take part in activities. We’ve recently been candle making which is a skill I’ve also had to personally learn. I record the sessions via video camera and take pictures to support individual outcome plans.
I also support the young people at mealtimes, with medication and personal care.
After dinner I’ll ask our members to share any news and to discuss, plan and review activities and mealtime plans.
What do you like best about the role?
I love meeting new people and building strong relationships with them and their families. And also the fact I have the opportunity to support them through a potentially difficult time; I find that really rewarding.
What’s the most challenging part of the role?
I have so many ideas for positive experiences and outcome plans for our members, so sometimes I find that a lot of planning is needed – as well as some compromising.
What skills do you bring to One Giant Leap?
I’m very interested in health so I like to promote a healthy lifestyle with clean eating. I’m also passionate about sport and trying new activities so I like to try and encourage this in the group too.
How do the OGL members benefit from the input of the volunteers?
The members build positive relationships with all the volunteers that come along. It gives them the chance to meet new people with different skills; people who they can build friendships with.
What do you get out of working with OGL?
I’m fortunate to be achieving a personal goal as it’s the line of work I’ve always wanted to do. I really enjoy being part of the young peoples’ lives and having that positive relationship.
Why should people consider volunteering?
Volunteering within our group raises awareness of the challenges our people deal with on a daily basis. With full training, volunteers will have great fun organising and taking part in activities.
Working alongside our members will also give volunteers knowledge of different communication methods and the chance of further training opportunities.