Best Start Peer Volunteer Story #VolunteersWeek

I didn’t really know what to make of Best Start Peer Support when I first heard about it. It intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure it was my thing. A friend of mine had done it and told me I would enjoy it, so I decided to take myself out of my comfort zone and go. I felt trepidation at going somewhere that offered me ways to cope better, and improve my own self esteem, but seemed like maybe it would be too much.

I have never been the most confident or the most outspoken and was worried about having to participate in discussions and what would be expected of me. However, when I first went in, I was greeted with a friendly face with a warm smile and an overwhelming sense of being made to feel welcome. I listened as the facilitators spoke of mental health, stress, support, communicating, self esteem and so much more. It was easy to let my guard down and just talk.

When you’re sharing your own insights into things, or hearing other peoples views, it gives you a sense of not feeling so alone in this whole parenting thing. We all have our struggles in many different things but together we can support each other, build each other up. It really opened my eyes, so going on to do the volunteer training seemed like a natural progression. I had found something that made me feel like a fire was ignited in me, a passion that I hadn’t felt in such a long time.

My mind began brimming with ideas on how I could take the skills I had taken from Best Start Peer Support and give back to my community, how I could make others feel the way I now felt: strong, confident, valued, like my thoughts and opinions mattered, that I had a place in the world, like I had a voice. The biggest thing that Best Start Peer Support has given me is a voice, a voice I now use to make myself heard, to support other people who were in the position I once found myself, to make sure people know they are not alone in this. We all have a voice, just sometimes we need that support to be able to find them.

I would recommend it because it makes you feel a part of something, being with a group of peers is invaluable in terms of the help and guidance given and the comfort and support you take from it. Knowing that my opinion is both valued and wanted has made me feel like I have a purpose beyond being just a stay at home mum, and I would recommend it to anyone who felt like they were nothing more than that.

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