Every day this week, we're sharing a profile of one of our incredible volunteers. If you're feeling inspired, learn more on our Volunteering webpages.
Volunteer Area/Type: Glasgow – Youth Groups
Volunteer Anniversary: March 2018
As a young person, Daniel came to an LGBT Youth Scotland group and whilst studying Child Psychology at University knew he would need practical experience and applied to be a volunteer so he could “complete the circle”.
Whilst Daniel’s volunteer training was delayed due to the “Beast from the East” he said, “I met some great people going through the training and I immediately increased my knowledge of issues I was woefully unaware of at the same time”.
Daniel thought he knew what working with a youth group would be like, based on his previous experiences, but quickly learned this would be "not what I expected”. In his previous youth groups (at other organisations) it was “usually loud and argumentative or the youth workers hid away”. However, he found that “I had people wanting to talk, learn, develop, expand, make friends, be teenagers/young people and to achieve something out of it. I was really impressed”.
One of his highlights as a volunteer was “when we had young person who was transitioning; they came with their mum and that week they were the only people at the group. This young person was in a position where they had one item of clothing in their correct gender, and they couldn’t afford more”. Daniel added, “We have a closet where people bring in clothes for others to take or donate to. This young person left with two full bags of clothes, if not more. The highlight was the fact that this person came to our group and had such a youthful excitement about being able to get something they need that they didn’t know they could get”.
Martin, our Youth and Community Development Officer in Glasgow, has worked with Daniel since he started: “Since starting he has shown really good progress in understanding where young people are coming from. As an example, checking in with me on concerns or around appropriate pronouns. He is very reflective on his group night and asks questions to young people to help him understand, always in an understated way.”
As a volunteer, Daniel has been able to lead a few sessions including a Christmas quiz (that was “smashing”!). He also said: “What I love the most about the group is that at times we have to think on the spot. I have spent an hour watching how to make different types of milk (oat, almond etc), played jenga, painted, played games, watched movies all off the cuff because scheduled activities have been cancelled, these are great challenges that I love to overcome.”
When Daniel is not working with young people in our Glasgow groups, he is a claims handler for a financial service company.
If you are thinking about volunteering, Daniel’s top tip is “Be yourself. By being yourself, you get to show that young people can be themselves in our groups. Even though I’ve since stopped my degree, I am still volunteering. I love the enjoyment of it, the things that I have learnt and the experiences I have had”.