Olu’s Volunteer Journey
I found out about Home-Start through one of daily newspapers and believed this was a good avenue for me to learn new things – managing and helping people who might be struggling with one or the other things in their life. I also chose to be a volunteer to gain experience and to prepare myself for the studying journey I had planned. One of the experiences I bring to the role is empathy. I am a father and someone who has gone through some of the things people are going through.
There are so many favourite things about being a Home-Start volunteer. What stands out is the team spirit, togetherness – a good set of people all round. Home-Start also helped me in my professional and personal development. I have received training and mentoring from them and they have written references for my applications to further education. The volunteering experience has been a good learning curve for me. I learned new things and supported with challenges I hadn’t come across in my own life.
Going into someone’s personal space to help was difficult in the beginning. I had to be patient, empathic, non-judgmental and dedicated. My family had twins who were born prematurely but I end up helping the whole family – ranging from helping source information, wedding planning, to a visa application! There are a lot of people out there that all they need is someone who can show them some Empathy, someone to talk to, someone to confide in in order for them to be back on their feet. You don’t necessarily need to have all the time in the world, but your heart is what is needed to help in giving back to the community.
I would you say to a prospective volunteer to never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.