At YouthNet we involve volunteers in a variety of different roles all helping to develop and enhance the services we offer for young people. Due to the nature of YouthNet’s work our volunteers are based all around the UK and therefore the majority volunteer virtually. Volunteers are an essential and valued part of our team and we couldn’t reach and support as many young people without their hard work
At any one time we involve over 200 volunteers. To give you the opportunity to meet a few of them four of our volunteers from different roles have spoken about their experience and journey as a volunteer with us.
My name is Selina. I am 20 years old and I am currently a student at Southbank University. I am coming to the end of my second year. My degree subject is Psychology.
My current role within YouthNet is as a Relationship Advisor on askTheSite. This entails receiving live questions from 16-25 year olds and answering these questions with guidance and support to help them with the situation they are faced with. The role also entails providing sources of information from various sites for the young person to go to.
I have only been volunteering since late February 2013, therefore I am still learning and undergoing the essential monthly training. However in time I would also like to get involved with other projects. In the short space of time that I have been volunteering I have learnt a vast amount of information, and new skills that are needed to give effective advice.
I found the Relationship Advisory Role through Do-it. I was very interested in doing some volunteering alongside my degree, just to learn new information but also to be able to apply my strengths to help other people. This is very rewarding. Even though through this role we do not get direct feedback from the user, it is a good feeling to know that you may have really helped that person in a difficult situation. I particularly enjoy this role because it is online. Majority of people are online now, therefore a wider range of people can be helped through YouthNet. This opportunity is very rewarding, but also helps me to apply my academic background to real life issues.
My name is Gareth Milner and I’m 28 years old. I have been involved with YouthNet for around seven years now. My involvement with the charity began when I started using TheSite.org in an effort to find some information online about personal issues I was facing at the time.
I’m currently volunteering as a moderator on TheSite.org discussion boards and as a TheSite.org Leader helping to improve and develop TheSite.org for young people who use it.
Involvement in helping a charity such as YouthNet, allows me to give something back to an organisation that has provided me so much help in the past. Knowing that the work I do for YouthNet contributes to their overall aim of helping young people, gives me an extremely fulfilling sense of worth.
The thing I enjoy most about YouthNet is the friendly and approachable nature of their staff both in person and online (distance based). Having that feeling that no idea is a stupid idea and is worthy of discussion, helps foster an environment that engages both users and providers of YouthNet’s services.
From my time volunteering for YouthNet I have not only learnt a lot about the charity sector as a whole, but also about how wide ranging the issues that face young people actually are.
My name is Matthew, I’m 19 and I’ve been involved with the TheSite.org Leaders since late October 2010. As a Leader volunteer my aim is to work with fellow consultation guides to help develop and enhance the TheSite.org for its users.
I got involved when looking to volunteer via Do-it. The prospect of furthering my opportunities is what most motivated me to volunteer, especially since volunteering is a priceless skill in our society today.
I find the issues that are raised and discussed in the live chats and on the TheSite.org Leaders online network really interesting. A lot of them relate to me so it’s beneficial when I come to responding and giving my opinion. Also, the other consultation leaders are friendly and funny! I’ve met some wonderful people that I won’t forget, but most importantly I get satisfaction by helping others and experience in social network volunteering which is invaluable in our modernising society.
I’m Emily, I’m 28 and I work as a mechanical design engineer for an aero-space company. It’s my third engineering job, before that I made implants to replace diseased and damaged bone, and before that I worked with electrical switchgear.
My volunteering role is as an online chat support moderator. I run support chat once a fortnight and keep the chatroom clean and supportive. I try to signpost users to other online resources, encourage them to get help and support offline and encourage peer support and advice as often as possible. In addition to that I help to run TheSite.org community film club. Each month a set of films are nominated to suit a theme, two of them are voted for, then there is a discussion thread on the boards and a chat session for an hour on the last Wednesday of the month.
I got involved to help give back and support TheSite. I had been a service user originally. I joined when I was about 18 yrs old to help a friend win an argument in the P&D forum. I took a 4 year break, until a little more than a year ago. I never really posted about my problems, and knew I wasn’t even close to being a target aged user. I was posting in an advice role, and asked if I could start helping in the chats. I’m not really sure why I came back to TheSite after so long away, I think I missed it. But I’m glad I did because I got back in contact with another user and moderator, and now she’s my girlfriend .
Chat has helped me become more patient and understanding. It’s a good feeling knowing that I’m helping out.