We welcomed Connor to the Teen Spirit volunteer team seven months ago and he has become an integral part of the team, acting as a mentor and workshop facilitation assistant on monthly Saturdays. As a UCL medical student he even joined the Body & Soul stand at the recent UCL volunteering fair to get more students signed up. Here Connor shares some thoughts on what being a volunteer member of the community means to him:
HIV strikes a particular chord with me both personally and professionally so as soon as I found out about Body & Soul I knew I wanted to get involved. It’s a real privilege to be able to support teens in dealing with whatever may be going on in their lives – including difficulties related to HIV but also those associated with simply growing up in the 21st century! The relationships I have already built with the teens over the last few months has been really heart-warming. The energy of the members, the family of staff and volunteers, and the undeniable sense of togetherness definitely make Teen Spirit a very special place. Bring on the next one!
Vincent has volunteered in our Adult Service on a weekly basis for over two years now, taking on many roles from facilitating dating workshops to co-ordinating taxis. This Christmas we were sad to say goodbye as he moves on to new and exciting adventures in his journey: from his experience at Body & Soul he has decided to embark on a counselling course, train to be a mentor at Positive East and start his own dating community for HIV positive men called Positive Dating. Here Vincent reflects on his time at Body & Soul:
Through volunteering at Body & Soul I have come to learn that I am more than I ever thought I was. Being a gay man, the first time I was in men’s group was challenging but I realised that members accepted me as a person and didn’t see me just under the label I identified with. Running workshops at Body & Soul helps me to let go of control and be less of a perfectionist. Members are happy to be guided but most importantly they want to be heard and hear other members’ experiences. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given here and the people I have been lucky enough to meet. My experience here has made me look at a change in career and have the confidence to move forward with it, so thank you.
If you are interested in joining the Body & Soul community in a volunteering role, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.