“Volunteering helped me understand the lives of young disabled people”

Karen by Karen
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My name is Karen I have a passion for live music and I’m also very outdoorsy. At the moment I am aiming to have climbed 40 Scottish Munro Mountains before I am 40. There’s no chance I will get round the full 282 before then though as I am in my mid 30’s (unfortunately)! When I’m not up in the mountains or babysitting my two nephews I’m working as a Regional Risk Operations & Service Manager for Santander Corporate Ban, and it’s through Santander that I found out about Whizz-Kid.

I joined Santander over 5 years ago and Whizz Kidz was one of their charity partners.  I applied to volunteer for one of their youth clubs club and quite simply fell in love with the young people and the work the charity does.  My first club was just days after my eldest nephew was born.

I am ashamed to say that before this I had very little understanding about what life was really like for how able disabled people. I suppose like many other people I assumed that anyone in a wheelchair would be very limited in terms the activities they can be involved in. However Whizz-Kidz opened my eyes to how equal everyone’s life can truly be if they are given the right equipment and opportunities.

The clubs allow me and the other volunteers a chance to get to know the young people and build relationships with them. The clubs allow all the young people to share experiences, difficulties, achieve their goals and most importantly have fun (with lovely volunteers of course), and that is what has kept me going back there for the past 5 years. 

Throughout my time at Whizz-Kidz I have also helped out at camps, been to volunteer fairs to find new recruits, and cheered on Whizz-Kidz runners alongside young people from the club at 10k runs and fun runs. I also fundraise wherever possible. Myself and 2 of my fellow walkers recently completed the West Highland Way, raising just over £2,000 for Whizz Kidz, an amount that will go towards our fundraising total for climbing Kilimanjaro next year.

I have loved every club I attend, the volunteers and young people are great and I will continue to be a part of the Whizz-Kidz community for as long as possible!

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