For Volunteers Week Scotland 2021, we're featuring profiles of our diverse and talented volunteer team.
As a small business owner and current Masters of Public Health student, Jaclyn has little spare time, but this has not stopped her from sharing her free time with us as a volunteer since January 2016.
“I first started Volunteering with LGBT Youth Scotland about 5 years ago as I was excited to find a place where I could use my skills and interest in youth sexual health to the benefit of those whose needs are commonly overlooked.”
As with all of our volunteers Jaclyn attended what is now known as our Youth Work Ready training. Jaclyn describes her training as: “helpfully structured at the beginning and self-led (with organisational support) later on. The early sessions describing youth work, organisational structure, LGBTQI basics, and relevant health & safety were a great primer. In many ways, I was relieved to find the volunteer experience at LGBTYS was more flexible than I expected.”
Her first roles supported our local Edinburgh youth groups Vada for young people aged 13-16 and Sound Youth for young people aged 16-25.
Jaclyn goes on to say, “As I spent more time volunteering for LGBTYS and figuring out the best ways I could contribute, I felt so supported to get involved in more subject-specific training that would help me connect my education and skills to the needs of young people.”
Ann, our Youth Manager East, had this to say about working with Jaclyn. “Working with Jaclyn is always a real pleasure. She proactively identified an opportunity to use her background in sex education to benefit LGBTYS and the young people we work with. Jaclyn has worked in partnership with LGBTYS, NHS Lothian, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and with young people using our services. She has designed and continually refines, workshops to engage LGBTI young people in the co-creation of sex education resources. She also delivers bespoke, LGBTI-affirming sexual health workshops to our youth groups, empowering our young people to make healthy decisions with confidence. Jaclyn manages this all with good humour, political awareness, and technical accuracy.”
The feedback from young people who have attended Jaclyn’s sessions has always been positive. During one of her last sessions in the Borders, this is what a few young people had to say, “It was very informative and not awkward unlike school. It was very funny” and “Good session overall, loved how interactive it was, learned a lot from the session.”
Jaclyn has worked on and written some of our publications including Good Sex Is... for women who have sex with women. Jaclyn also remarked that whilst the Good Sex Is… guide was a major highlight for her in her time volunteering it did not come without controversy in some media outlets!
Jaclyn is currently working collaboratively with LGBTYS, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Lothian, NHS Lanarkshire and third sector partners to design a brief for, and then develop with young people, a series of short films that will be launched nationally to raise awareness of issues around consent.
Laura is one of our digital youth workers and has recently been working with Jaclyn delivering digital sessions. Laura said, “It has been a delight to work with Jaclyn to design and deliver digital sexual health education sessions on our Discord platform. Jaclyn is great at creating inclusive and engaging sex-ed sessions and her joy towards these topics is a significant part of what makes the sessions so much fun. I have also been really impressed with how easily Jaclyn took to delivering the sessions online, which can be daunting if you're used to doing them in person.”
In reflecting on her time as a volunteer and working with young people Jaclyn said, “I've had the wildly underrated joy of writing and delivering a few sexual health education sessions to LGBTYS youth groups. Once the pandemic settles, I look forward to delivering many more.”
Jaclyn has this advice for someone who is thinking about volunteering: “Youth work is ultimately about personal relationships - even ones that only last the length of one 2-hour session - and finding ways to connect that are genuine, affirming, and empathetic. Volunteering is a great method for multiplying your luck for the benefit of others, and still somehow getting back far more than you gave.
If you're interested in volunteering with LGBT Youth Scotland, sign up here.