But Yvonne firmly believes that as much as the service is there to benefit young people, it is equally rewarding for the volunteers.
“It’s a win-win situation,” she says. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Meeting Briggit completely changed my life. Having someone to support and share things with was great. Now we enjoy spa breaks and find new restaurants together.
“Fortunately, Briggit made it easy – she was always very grateful and open to new things. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to go through the milestones in my life without my mother by my side, and I couldn’t see why Briggit should lack that support either.
“She didn’t create her circumstances herself, so why shouldn’t she have the same special experiences as other girls? Our relationship has grown naturally and we have been able to care for each other and share so much.
“The day of her graduation, I burst with pride and cheered her on as she crossed the stage. I told her, ‘You really need to understand that what you’ve accomplished is phenomenal. Some people might think that a child who is part of the care system probably isn’t much, but look what your hard work has accomplished.’”
Briggit studied law at the University of Nottingham and now works for the House of Commons as an HR and Payroll Administrator. She says that with her unique understanding of the difficult times children in shelters can go through, it won’t be long before she signs up as an independent volunteer. “I know myself what an impact it can have – I feel very blessed with Yvonne and I can only hope that I can bring something special to another child’s life.”
So what advice does Yvonne have for anyone considering embarking on a journey like hers?
“You need patience at first,” she says. “Depending on the child’s circumstances, it may take them a while to trust you. But the better you get to know them and their likes and dislikes, the more you gain their trust and the more they open up. If you’re lucky, your relationship will blossom, just like ours, and you’ll have the joy of being a part of their lives forever.”
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