David has volunteered as a Child Care Assistant with SAVS since May 2018. The role supports the Parent Engagement service which is part of A Better Start Southend programme. Since he began the role he has grown into it and developed new skills and had new experiences. David is always keen to learn new things and get involved with his community.
Before joining the team, David mostly looked after his mother, having had previous experience of caring for the elderly this came naturally to him. David said that due to his knowledge around the elderly he wanted to expand on this and start at the other end of the spectrum and volunteer with children. By doing this he hoped that he would be able to work on his interpersonal skills whilst also helping to make a positive impact on families in his area.
David’s journey with SAVS and A Better Start Southend has provided him several training opportunities, such as safeguarding young children and the Health Eating and Nutrition for the Really Young (HENRY). He often reflects on his first experience volunteering with the service at a Parent Forum. It was a particularly busy session with over 15 young children attending, David recalls “It was like a baptism of fire and it blew my mind away; despite how hard the session was I left feeling hungry for more and looking forward to the next session.” David has since honed his skills and enjoys encouraging the children to play make believe and using their imagination. David said “I get to be a kid again but in a responsible and fun way!”
David spoke about how the service is helping families and inspiring them to use their skills. He is particularly keen on the work done in in the outdoor green spaces, boosting children’s education and allowing them a chance to step away from technology. He commented that the children are always keen to get involved in the activities, which is why he enjoys helping. He believes A Better Start Southend is making a difference to the families’ life and improving the area they live in.
It is important to make volunteers feel part of the team and David says “I have always felt supported in this role, a member of the team is always at hand if I need help.” “Also being able to attend all the training as well as the different meetings and activity sessions SAVS and Better Start do has helped to improve my own life and community connections.”
David states his main challenge on this volunteering journey has been trying to juggle watching and interacting with multiple children, especially when they start to cry or argue with one another! He feels he continues to develop and get better as he gets more experience. David finished by saying that he will carry on in this role and see where it takes him, as it’s a nice change of pace for him and something that he wishes he would have done sooner.
If you would like to learn more about the volunteering opportunities here at SAVS, contact our Reception Team on 01702 356 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.