Having fun with VICTA

Ellie Cowin

I started volunteering for VICTA around three years ago and it the best thing I have ever done. It is such an amazing experience that we are able to share with hundreds of families. Since my first VICTA Family Weekend, I have been able to see children grow up and become more confident in themselves over the various VICTA activities and it is great to have built up relationships with them and their families.  The young people that we meet through VICTA are some of the most inspirational and amazing people I’ve ever met.

VICTA as a charity could not be more welcoming to new volunteers and they made me feel 100% comfortable with learning how to guide people correctly and also provided me with the experience of being guided. This helped massively when attending my first activity, as it can be quite daunting when you have not worked with visually impaired young people and children previously. Although we receive guide training, a lot of the younger children are quite happy to just hold your hand.

Working with people with visual impairments has opened my eyes to so many things that I probably wouldn’t have thought about or noticed previously. I feel like volunteering has made me a better person and I definitely have a better understanding of how to assist people who are VI.

The kids that attend the activities with VICTA are truly unbelievable. A lot of the children are confident about all of the activities and eager to take part – sometimes even forcing the volunteers into doing them, but then you do also get a lot of children that are more reserved and nervous as for some it is their first time away from parents. By the end of the weekend these children have made friends and are excited to take part in activities and a lot of the time, they don’t want to go home! It’s so great to know that you have supported young children in accomplishing their fears, making friends and having fun!

I have made so many wonderful friendships with volunteers, VICTA staff and lots of families over the past three years and I look forward to making more as I continue to volunteer for VICTA. The events that VICTA put on can only be described as all-rounders. They are a great experience for everyone – parents, young people, volunteers and staff.

Being a volunteer is the most rewarding experience and one that I think all people should try!

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