Two young South Yorkshire men have revealed how working with young people has helped turn their lives around as Volunteers’ Week 2015 kicks off today.
Chris Badger, aged 23, from Bramley, Rotherham, has been volunteering with Safe@Last, a charity which works with children at risk of running away, for about three years.
Chris, who has had quadriplegic cerebral palsy since birth and uses a wheelchair, turned to volunteering after struggling to find work.
He said: “I’m really, really lucky to have got involved with Safe@Last.
“It was difficult finding work that I wanted to do, but also that I could do.
“So I started doing volunteering work.
“It involves putting on plays for kids to make them aware of dangers of running away from home.
“Sometimes I play a drunk offering them a beer, or sometimes I might be a stranger approaching them, and I have also presented as well.
“It’s very rewarding because you are having an impact on these kids’ lives.
“If you can reach one kid, I class that as a success, to keep that kid safe.
“Volunteering has made a massive difference.
“It’s given me a reason to get up in the morning.
“Just being able to come in and make a difference to people gives me a massive fulfilment.”
Jordan Kay, 19, began helping the service to repay the help the charity gave him when he ran away from home when he was aged just 14.
He said: “Safe@Last is like a massive family.
“Every day is a laugh. It’s always different – nothing is the same, every single day we have fun.
“I ran away from home due to a family argument.
“I used to get into arguments because I have ADHD and Asperger’s and I just wanted to get away.
“I was helped by Safe@Last. It made me realise that running away is not the answer and that there is always help.
“I say it was fate that brought me to Safe@Last.
“It really is rewarding, I have made a lot of friends and it has given me a lot of experience.
“It’s made a big difference to my life. It has made me a better person, it has given me a great experience and it has kept me sane.
“It has changed my life.”