Sarah's Experiences
"I orginally started looking for voluntary work in 1997, I was studying at college and working part-time, I had time on my hands and thought I could be doing something productive. My initial thought wasn't to work with young people as I was only 19 myself when I first joined Time2Talk. Looking around I found I wasn't really interested in anything else or I felt I didn't have the skills needed, so I thought I'd look into more about Time2Talk and found out more about the services they offered the actual work that they do and how they support young people. What I found, I liked and chose the relevant application forms to become a volunteer.

My excepectations of becoming a volunteer (in any organisation, not just Time2Talk) were that volunteers probably would not be treated the same as paid members of staff, they would have less responsiblity and make less decisions about their work. Of course I soon found this out to be untrue. I don't know about any other charity organisations but Time2Talk relys on volunteers as the backbone of the place and that is shown in every way, from treating everyone as equal to asking the volunteers for their opinion, we are praised and reassured that without us the place could simply not run, I'm sure other organisations that rely on volunteers are the same.

I have got many positive experiences from voluntary work, the main one being that I am putting something back in the community, the feel good factor is there when you go home I am able and fortunate enough to support these young people when they need it most. I have learnt to be non-judgemental which carries on outside of work. I also can sit back and learn to be thankful and appreciate my own life situation, working at Time2Talk really does not let you have self-pity. It is also nice to be able to support these young people, we may see someone who is suicidal but after a few weeks they come back and are really much happier about themselves and the situation. In 2000 I was nominated "Volunteer of the Year by Time2Talk and that made the 5 years I had been working all worth while. Voluntary work, in my view depends on how much you want to give to it and that depends on how much you get out of it.

I would personally recommend voluntary work for everyone no matter their age, race or gender, there is alot of training to been done but well worth it!!! "