A year since the start of my Team v adventure

It was a year ago that I was on the train to London for Team v’s welcome and induction day, how quickly has that gone? After only completing my interview two days before I was caught up in a whirlwind of excitement and it hadn’t quite sunk in that I had been successful. To get to the point where I was accepted was a success in itself for me and did not come easily.

Fast forward a year to now and I am happier, healthier and more confident than I could ever have imagined a year ago. I’ve completed tasks I never thought I would able to do such as running workshops in schools and talking on the radio. In the past year I’ve visited London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Coventry and Swindon.

This new found confidence has helped in all areas of my life. Academically, Team v has helped me to progress too. I am now studying a Health and Social Care course, I will be taking part in a 3 day first aid course which starts tomorrow and next week I begin my BSL course. This wouldn’t have been possible without the Team v Scholarship. I am happier than I have ever been, partly down to all of the amazing opportunities I’ve taken part in and also because of allowing myself to feel the love my family have for me.

Volunteering wise, I have taken part in residential camps for children with serious illnesses and with children who are deafblind. Both of these have been inspiring and I can’t wait to volunteer later this year with some similar organisations. My CV is now full of experience and finding new opportunities is so much easier.

I think it is important to look at how far you’ve come occasionally. It’s too easy to get caught up in chasing your dreams that you forget to look at how much has changed already. A big thank you has to go to my amazing family, I wouldn’t be doing what I am now without their support and encouragement. As well as the Team v staff who believed in me and supported me throughout the programme.

Next week I will be taking part in vInspired Ambassador training. This is something I am very excited about and will be writing more about over the upcoming weeks. I have loads of new and exciting opportunities over the next few months and I am sure this next year will be even better than the last.

587318100 (1)

Advertisements

Happy Weekend!

All week I was really looking forward to the weekend and it certainly didn’t disappoint! My weekend began with a fantastic night at AltTango. I love being able to help my family out, it makes me very happy, as does seeing so many people enjoying their evening and dancing. I can’t wait until I can dance properly again!!

Saturday was fantastic from start to end. It began with waking up to a sunny day, listening to music and getting ready for the day ahead. I spent the day in Liverpool with a few Team v Midlands leaders and our mentor, Sanya. These meet ups are always lots of fun and this was no different! We spent a couple of hours chatting in Costa about our campaign plans. There were some amazing ideas and we all helped and fed off of each other. I cannot wait to see some of these ideas in practice! CC5iLzsWYAANJO5

We then did something I would never have thought of doing, even at the start of the weekend. We went out into Liverpool and handed out campaign booklets. It doesn’t sound like much but for someone like me who isn’t very confident in talking to people I know, let alone approaching random members of the public and asking them whether they had registered to vote and handing them a booklet, it is huge. I pretty much floated back to Stoke in a bubble of happiness, eager to share my achievements with my friends and family. Even the long delay didn’t dampen my mood.

After a quick stop at home to get changed and eat it was finally time for Stokie’s ❤ I love the atmosphere at Stokie’s and being surrounded by family and friends made the night that extra bit special. Lots of happy conversations and hugs and I even got to dance! The day ended with some lazy time reading.

Today has been a lazy day before another busy week of campaign planning. I feel very lucky to have all of the wonderful opportunities I have and to be supported by my family like I am. Next weekend it will be time for Uprising’s My Voice, My Vote residential training weekend which promises to be yet another amazing weekend.

I hope your weekend has been happy & inspiring too. Wishing everyone a happy week 🙂

My first ever school workshop!

What do you get when you multiply anything by 250?    A school workshop of course!!

Or at least that is what it felt like last week in the run up to my workshop! Everything wasn’t counted into groups of ten, twenty, fifty or even a hundred but a massive 250.

When I accepted a local secondary schools offer of speaking to all 250 Year 7 students I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves. I went into the meeting expecting to do maybe two or three workshops of around 30 students in each… how wrong was I!

In fact it turned out to be 4 workshops, an hour in length each with the smallest class being 50 students. But prep for 250 students is the same as prep for 30 students right? Wrong! So very wrong!

The day before the workshops I was still going over any potential questions I could be asked, putting the addresses into the Do You Care? booklets, sticking sticky notes to all of the worksheets and printing. The printing felt like it was never going to end, as did the bits of sticky tape I was cutting off to stick the addresses into the booklets! I was determined that just because I was speaking to a high number of students that they would get the same level of workshop and resources as if I was speaking to a much smaller group.

Here are a few photos that explain the day before better than words:

WP_20150311_004 WP_20150311_007

But if I could go back would I change it? Not at all. I loved everything about it, the preparation, the adrenaline the morning before leaving for the school, walking around the house listening to music at 6.30am when I’m normally fast asleep, spending time and sharing the day with other Team v volunteers, mentors and staff… everything about the day really 🙂

Knowing that I’ve passed my knowledge of young carers onto those students makes every moment worth it. If it wasn’t for Team v and this opportunity then those 250 students probably wouldn’t have thought about young carers that day.

Hearing one young person saying they weren’t aware of their local support service since moving but were now going to contact them and many other students open up about past and current experiences. That is why I do what I do. It’s why I love Team v. It is also why programmes like Team v are so important, not just for those volunteering but for the huge impact they have on communities and local organisations.

B_5G1AFWQAAEydJ (1)  Team v team

B_5kkFYXIAApB7d

Team v Resi 1

Between Friday 17th and Sunday 19th October, along with over 100 leaders from across the country, I took part in the most influential residential I have ever been to.

On Friday the campaign we would be working on was finally revealed. As I mentioned in an earlier post, which can be found here, it is called ‘Beyond a tin of food’. It is all about raising awareness of our local food banks and how food poverty has increased massively over the past three years.

The training we received was excellent and so full on, by the end of each day I was more than ready for my very comfy bed. We were taught how to contact our local MP, skills needed for public speaking, the truth about food poverty and who is affected and how to use social media in campaigning.

And then there was the amazing hotel food, the onesie film night, games and a silent disco to enjoy. Walking through the hotel restaurant (full of members of the public enjoying a delicious meal with their family and friends!) dressed in a sheep onesie was a personal highlight!

10735856_10204535774488444_506261159_nOn the journey home I had a last minute panic as I realised I was on the wrong platform, waiting for a train that went to London not Stoke!! This meant a mad dash to the right platform with only a minute to go before the train left!! But all was okay and a couple of hours later I was back home. Tired, happy and having lost my voice completely which made explaining the weekend and the reason for my excitement difficult… But rather entertaining too 🙂
Resi 1 changed me in a way I never expected. Sure, I hope by the end of Team v my confidence levels will increase but this was something else. A change in mindset. A realisation that I can make a difference and help. That it is possible to give people a voice who may not have one by simply helping them.

The biggest realisation I had though was that my past does not define me. I can do anything and go anywhere I want, achieve anything I put my mind to.

I am me and that is all I can be 🙂

#Beyondfood #teamvgo