Whizz-Kidz relies on volunteers to be able to deliver our services to young people. To celebrate Volunteers Week from 1st-7th June, we asked Derrick to tell us about why he got involved with Whizz-Kidz.
I’ve been volunteering with Whizz Kidz Ambassador clubs for a couple of months now. Being a youngish adult wheelchair user myself (mid-30s is still sort-of young right?) and looking for a new volunteering opportunity, I felt that it would be a great fit.
I’ve helped out at four clubs so far, two at Oxford and two at Treloars. Each one has been different and it has been hard to pick out a particular highlight. I think the one that took me most out of my comfort zone was a Treloars club where the participants were working on designing their own T-shirts. I was assisting a young woman named Amanda to work on her T-shirt and putting my highly dubious artistic skills to the ultimate test! Between slightly messing up the painting of the Whizz-Kidz logo in the middle, to helping her to paint a self-portrait and glueing on her first initial in the medium of coloured buttons, we did get there in the end and thankfully she seemed delighted with the final result!
Other clubs that I have attended have involved activities as varied as word games, wheelchair games, making rice krispie treats and having casual discussions on important topics such as interpersonal relationship problems and bullying. Each one I have been to has felt thoroughly worthwhile.
It seems to me that the clubs can be particularly important for young people who are integrated into mainstream schools and may well otherwise be the only wheelchair user in their own personal world. I know from my own experience how isolating that can sometimes feel and how important it can be to spend time with others who experience the world as you do.
Based on my experiences so far, I think that Whizz Kidz plays a very valuable role and I expect that I will only become more involved with it as time goes on.