Sue has managed our work in schools and with disengaged young people in Dumfries and Galloway since 2010. She talks to us about her role as Volunteer Project Manager, including memorable moments and achievements. We also asked her about her New Years reolutions!
Can you remember your very first Step Together client?
That’s a difficult one as I have been with the organisation for six years but I started working more with disadvantaged young people much more recently – I think my first client was Max, quite an angry, disengaged lad who had got himself into a lot of trouble and had been permanently excluded from school. I worked with him 1:1, taking him to volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland. It was weeks before he really spoke at all but I knew I had got through to him the week that he worked really hard and actually laughed and chatted. That was really rewarding.
Who has been the most memorable client?
I think I would say a young care leaver called Cara, who showed me how important little steps can be. She had recently moved out of care, aged 16, into her first tenancy. Cara was very shy and had no confidence, but I found a small community café that was looking for volunteers and she agreed to do a trial visit. I arranged to pick her up to take her for the trial on three occasions but each time she backed out. On the fourth attempt I succeeded, however she sat in the car visibly shaking with fear. I managed to talk Cara into going in and supported her for an hour while she volunteered. After an hour and a half she came out buzzing, she had loved the experience and chatted all the way home about what she had done. The difference one visit had made to her confidence was incredible.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement at Step Together Volunteering?
Probably one of my most recent clients, Jordan, who attends Lockabie Academy. Jordan has Asperger’s and is on a reduced timetable at school. Both the school and his mum felt that Jordan would struggle to do anything independently, but last term I began supporting Jordan to volunteer at a community café. He is now volunteering on his own for two days a week and working towards his SVQ1 in Hospitality, with plans to start college later this year.
What makes you happy?
Walks on beaches, just being on beaches, snow, running, mountain biking, socialising with friends, good coffee, visiting new places but most of all ...seeing my kids happy :)
Any New Year resolutions?!
Hmm, I’m not one for New Years Resolutions but as I am going to be 50 this year I have a vague idea to complete a bucket list of 50 things for my 50th – at the minute this includes ...learning to ski, running a half marathon, getting a tattoo, riding a horse across a beach, going on a fast motorbike and one I’ve already completed - the official Edinburgh Hogmanay!