Sam's Volunteering Journey
Posted: Tue, 14 Jan 2020 15:48 by Alice Trevallion
Sam's area of Bartley Green was lacking in any youth provision, so when MAD's programme of activity took place across the summer of 2018, there was a great response from the community.
Sam met Alison, heading up the programme, wanting to know what it was all about and quickly got involved. But as the six weeks was coming to an end, Sam wasn't satisfied with them packing up and heading off…
"I felt like a carrot had been dangled then taken away and I thought, I'm not having that, I want more! So that's how it came about…me being stubborn and wanting something for the kids…"
…So Nukez Youth Club on Lung Nuke Road was created, with a push from Sam and the local Mum's, they immediately had children through the door, attending every week.
As someone who hadn't been a youth leader before, we wanted to know what sparked Sam into creating and performing the important volunteer role she now plays.
"Personally, MAD has given me the confidence to run the youth club and it's helping me change as a person, I'm calmer and less quick to snap. I've got a lot of pride for our community now, whereas I didn't prior to this. I feel like we're trying to help the kids and the parents."
Speaking to Sam it increasingly comes across that this isn't just a youth club she's running, but a community hub. Having recognised the needs within her community and wanting positive change for those growing up in the neighbourhood, Sam spoke up and got things happening when opportunity came knocking.
"I feel like we're trying to help the kids and the parents…So we'll have Housing and Benefits people come talk to the parents, Umbrella sexual health to talk to the older kids, a homework club is also being setup, there's a lot of exciting things in the pipeline!
We want to support the parents, the parents need someone they can vent to, if they need help we'll try match them with someone who can solve their problem, we're not just here for the kids."
Through the creation of Nukez Youth Club, other mums brought their kids along and then got involved themselves in helping out and running the club alongside Sam. With the support from the MAD team they have been able to upskill and gain qualifications in Youth Work, Health and Hygiene, Child Protection, First Aid and for some to become Tennis Activators. All these positive changes and interactions within the community have come about with the trust and support Sam provides. Sam, Jayne and Chelsea volunteer their time running two sessions a week, one for the younger children and one for teenagers and young adults. They have created a safe space for these children and young people, a space to play and be young whilst being cared for and heard. And we see only bigger and better things to come for this community of people with the foresight these volunteers envision.
"I'd love to build youth clubs around the areas, if I could do another two in the next three years…I'd be happy. I've found since starting the youth club the community is much better at coming together and helping out as we know one another better now, whether that be staffing or giving donations etc.
For instance if we don't have enough staff, a lot of different people pitch in and help put the sessions on, or else it would mean we would be turning away 20/30 kids. I've got a lot of pride for our community now, whereas I didn't prior to this."
Not only do Sam's own children attend Long Nukez, but her eldest Chelsea volunteers there too. Sam's guidance and coaching hasn't been limited to the youth club, she's extended that to include her children and looks for the best ways they can benefit whilst helping in their community.