My experience as a Home-Start volunteer
My first contact with Home-Start took place in 2012 at the Gazi Volunteer Festival at a time when I was looking for ways to offer some of my time and emotional energy to those in need. Home-Start’s principles and methodology matched what I was looking for as I realized that I could share the experiences I had gained by raising my children but also learn new things. I see coming to Home-Start as the start of a new chapter in my life. The volunteer training, both for family crisis management and child abuse, helped me to arrange in my mind scattered information and experiences, filling the gaps with knowledge. The teachers' feedback, our raised awareness, teamwork and brainstorming all gained my interest and prepared me properly for my subsequent volunteer work in the families that I was assigned to.
During this 6-year period when I was actively engaged with families, despite the serious problems that they were experiencing in some cases, I felt that the training I had received was sufficient for me to respond appropriately. The support and assistance that I received at difficult moments from the volunteer coordinator have always been unfailing, quick and effective, giving me the strength and courage to continue with patience, care and love for the families.
At the same time, I could say that sensitising and engaging with people who face very different and clearly greater difficulties than those I encounter in my immediate environment contributed to my own self-improvement. I have become a better mother, a better friend, a more experienced person and much more inventive in finding immediate solutions to inelastic needs.
I can only conclude that the challenge of volunteering, especially when it is based on such human support mechanism as Home Start, offers, on many levels, as much to the volunteers as to the families.