Kids Company Volunteers bring hope to vulnerable inner-city kids
Back in July I wrote a post called Teenage Kicks: Problem and Solution about a run-in I’d had with some teen girls on my street. My first thought was to vent my anger on mother.wife.me. But the more I stewed, the more I realised I wanted to write not just about the problem that I’d encountered, but possible solutions too. Because it’s all very easy to moan about the yoof of today, but it’s harder to take time out to look at how each of us can help influence the young people, who will be the adults of tomorrow.
One of the solutions I mentioned is an organisation run by the inimitable Camilla Batmanghelidj’s. It’s called Kids Company
Kids Company was founded by Camila in 1996 and it provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children.
The Kids Company services reach 17,000 children across London, including the most deprived and at risk whose parents are unable to care for them due to their own practical and emotional challenges.
One of the ways that Kids Company is able to carry out its work is through an army of Kids Company volunteers, who give their time and love to Kids Company and the children and families that it supports.
One such Kids Company volunteers is my friend Felicity Bevell. We met whilst studying reflexology together at the London School of Reflexology. Felicity has gone on to build a successful career as a reflexologist, which has led her down myriad different wonderful pathways. One of which, resulted in her becoming a Kids Company volunteer.
I thought I’d fling a few interview questions Felicity’s way in an attempt to get an idea of what being a Kids Company volunteer entails:
What made Kids Company stand out to you as a charity to get involved with?
I was introduced to Kids Company by my Facial Reflexology tutor Nikke Ariff, she had started a scheme for Facial Reflexologists to Volunteer in schools with Kids Co. The more I researched the charity, the more I found I admired the underlying philosophy of unconditional love – that even small gains in a child/young person in terms of their behaviour and emotional state are seen as positive steps forward, that support is always there and no one is considered beyond help. I admired the fact that Kids Company also support the families. It’s a holistic approach to care.
In what capacity are you involved with Kids Company?
Initially I volunteered with Kids Company at an after school club at a local North London School for a few years. Then, from January 2012 I started 1.5 days of work with them providing Facial & Foot Reflexology and The Metamorphic Technique to parents, teachers and children.
What age are the children that you work directly with?
I work with children from the age of 4 upwards at present but also am able to work with babies and toddlers.
What are the tangible benefits for the children from your involvement?
I’ve observed children to have better health, be generally much calmer and sleep better since working with Facial Reflexology.
What do you think are the benefits to society when Kids Company reaches out to these children?
Kids Company shows love and care to children/young adults who may not have experienced this at home. By leading by example and providing a base of support children/young adults who are struggling can start to look to the future, start to have hope that they can succeed and start to feel more worthwhile. These children/young people then grow and develop to often be able to leave their past behind them, start careers and choose work options and have the skills to interact with others on a daily basis, this is of huge benefit for society.
What do you get back from being a Kids Company volunteer?
Joy in the knowledge that I am a part of the care that could enable a child/young person to fully participate in life and to move forward. Working with Kids Company has been incredibly rewarding.
If someone is short of cash and short of time, what would be the best way for them to help support Kids Company?
Offer a few hours to volunteer if you can and if not, talk about Kids Company’s work or consider asking your employer to donate regularly to Kids Company, or maybe even hold a charity event to raise money for Kids Company. All of these are massively appreciated.
For more information on Kids Company and how you can become a Kids Company Volunteer email: volunteer @ kidsco.org.uk
Make a donation: Donate to Kids Company here
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