Volunteering with Connection Support as a Boost Family Mentor, Sam says her whole experience has been positive and she’s delighted to be supporting a family to get to a much happier position.

What led you to volunteer? I signed up with the Volunteer Matching Service in the Christmas holidays; our family had gone through a difficult time over the past year, what with COVID and everything, but I realised we’d been lucky compared with some families who did not have the advantages and support that we did.  I have two very young children and thought I would like to volunteer to help others with young families, to ‘pay it forward’. When I got the call from the Volunteer Matching Service about the Boost Family Support role it was exactly what I wanted.

What is your role?  I am paired up with a family as a mentor to support them and provide encouragement and advice to help them move to a stable and positive environment for both the parents and the children.

Was this a remote role or did you meet face to face? Everything happens over WhatsApp video call – the charity is thinking of moving back to meeting in person, but all my mentoring has been remote. I did wonder about how the relationship would work over the app but I just clicked with the family straightaway at our first session.

What difference do you think your mentoring has made? I think the family always had the ability to sort things out for themselves but needed someone to listen to them, help them find a way forward and reassure them that they could succeed. It was important to them that I was there for the whole family and didn’t just have a narrow focus on the children. It has been brilliant seeing the whole family progress to a much happier place.  Watching them change and grow in confidence has been fascinating.

What do you gain personally from volunteering? I think it has opened up my thinking and my attitude to dealing with issues in my own life. Also seeing how the family has progressed has really given me joy.

Did anything surprise you about the role?  Not exactly, but I did wonder how good a fit I would be as I work in a very corporate environment and lots of the other volunteers at Connection Support work with children or are in much more person-focussed jobs. In fact, I took to it like a duck to water.

Would you recommend volunteering? I would absolutely recommend it. You get so much out of it for yourself as well as helping others. There are big benefits on both sides.

Additional information:

If you are looking for a volunteering role, you can:

The Boost Family Mentoring service is no longer available but to find out more about Connection Support and other volunteering opportunities they have to offer, visit the Connection Support website.

Updated on September 18, 2023

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society