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Personal stories: The help of volunteer David
I was asked to work with Andrew* to help improve his self-esteem and decision making skills which led to his drug abuse.
At our regular meetings, we explored solutions to his issues and obstacles to his future aspirations. Slowly through this work, his perceptions about himself began to change from feelings of guilty and helplessness, to being able to acknowledge his own personal strengths and attributes.
I also supported Andrew to access benefits and available services such as debt counselling and employment support and encouraged him to try and return to full-time employment.
Another area we worked on was building up his support network and improving his family relationships.
It has been gratifying to see the life-skills Andrew is putting into practice, the positive changes in his persona and the increases in his overall health and wellbeing.
Service users own the positive changes and choices they make, and my role is to support them by being a critical but honest learning partner and listener.
The greatest reward of volunteering is how much I have learnt (for example, how many of my preconceptions were wrong), and I have probably learnt as much as Andrew continues to.
*The name of the service user has been changed