A STUDENT volunteer from Louth has spoke of her ‘desire to make a difference to young people’s lives’ through volunteering for YMCA Humber.
Leanne Kennedy, 25, is currently studying a degree in Criminology at the University of Grimsby and has volunteered in a variety of positions for the youth charity.
She said: “I am in the final year of my degree and I was looking to volunteer so that I could gain more experience towards a future career path.
“I was looking to find out more about the services that are offered to vulnerable young people in the area, so I approached YMCA about any voluntary positions they had available.”
Leanne started off volunteering with the more enriching activities that YMCA provides for the young people in its housing projects, helping out with arts and crafts sessions at the Peaks Lane Hostel in Grimsby.
But she soon realised how these sessions help the young people at YMCA with their progression and eventual move into independent living.
She explained: “The nature of the activities means the young people are relaxed and easily open up to key workers about issues that are affecting them – it is quite subtle.
“I was also involved with the cooking activities, which are a great way to provide young people with vital life skills that they will need for after YMCA.”
And it was obtaining first-hand experience of the work of YMCA through these voluntary sessions that led to Leanne becoming further involved with the charity’s work by volunteering as a Customer Service Officer and a key worker, joining the charity’s relief bank of support staff soon after.
Leanne continued: “Straight away I enjoyed working with the young people but it was the dedication of the staff that struck me the most.
“I know that from my very first few sessions that I wanted to get more involved.”
So she decided to take part in YMCA’s annual homelessness fundraiser Sleep Easy, bedding down in a cardboard box on a cold, January night.
She recalled: “I think it is a good fundraising event because it doesn’t just raise money for charity but it also educates you about the work that charities do in this area and how people become homeless.
“It was very cold but it was only for one night, other people unfortunately have it much worse.
“It was good to be able to think I was doing something that would be benefiting the young people we support at YMCA.”
Leanne would also recommend volunteering as a route into a career in the charitable sector.
She concluded: “I would definitely recommend volunteering at YMCA if you have an interest in helping others, supporting people and making a positive impact on people’s lives.”
For more information on volunteering at YMCA Humber, please visit https://www.ymca-humber.com/get-involved/volunteer/ or call Alan Burley, Funding and Volunteer Coordinator on 01472 608 303.