Being a young volunteer had it’s challenges. Not only because my mum had been volunteering since the age I started but I fainted at the sight of blood. So why did I volunteer for the British Red Cross?
It started when I was sixteen and I was at that age when babysitting was not cool but your parents didn’t want you at home on your own. I used to go when I was a lot younger but mostly I just got in the way. At least being older you could be put to use with making the tea or filling in the paperwork. I had no interest in the first aid. Blood and I didn’t like the sight of each other and I was squeamish but I still volunteered.
It was the first steps to my life and shaping me into who I am and what I do today. The British Red Cross does so much more than first aid; from disaster relief to fun initiatives such as Dance: Make Your Move.
I loved to be on stage, I loved to be helpful and get involved. Throughout my years as a youth volunteer I wrote the local newsletter for the youth group, presented my local Dance: Make Your Move heat and I got to play the injured character in training exercises (make up included).
I have even got up on stage and co-presented the National Assembly… (most nerve racking thing I’d done back then). But the most life changing thing I experienced was I being rolled into the recovery position more times than I can count.
But this saved my life. When I was 18 I was hit by a car and landed in the recovery position which reduced the risk of fatal injuries. I was lucky. It was still a long recovery and a hard change to take at that age but it turned my life around. I went from average grades to showing my true potential and most importantly it made me thankful for those around me and the life I had been given to live.
Volunteering can impact your life in so many different ways. I learnt to respect the elders and the hardship there is to being on your own. Just a cup of tea and a chat can make all the difference. I know how to do basic first aid and how to react in an emergency.
I also know that my mum is an inspiration. I mentioned earlier that my mum volunteered when she was 16, and although I don’t volunteer so much now, she still does. My mum trains the volunteers what they need to know and inspires the next generation.
It could be as simple as volunteering at a particular event, it could be more of a long term commitment but volunteering has been a massive part of my life. My first steps were initially begrudged upon me by a parent but I wouldn’t have changed it and so I dedicate this post to the most amazing volunteer I know, my mum. Whether it’s giving your time in some way or sharing something with family, there is a reason we volunteer. It could save someone’s life, including your own.