“I feel useful and needed, with a sense of purpose in my retirement. Volunteering for Jigsaw (South East) has taught me that I will never stop learning. I will also always ask for help if I need to, rather than suffer in silence.”
Retired special needs co-ordinator and former Samaritan, Julie Martin, has been a volunteer with Jigsaw (South East) for nearly three years.
She has two roles, helping with the office admin and working with the Grief Support groups.
What inspired you to volunteer with Jigsaw (South East)?
In retirement I wanted to do something worthwhile for a cause I felt strongly about. I believed that my career experience and strengths gained in my work could be put to good use at Jigsaw (South East).
What are the benefits of volunteering?
I am proud to be involved with Jigsaw (South East). I enjoy meeting the groups, getting to know the families and being able to support them and hopefully help them through their hardest times.
My social circle has also expanded and I am continuing to develop my skills.
What skills or knowledge did you bring to the role?
My previous careers, but also that my Mum died when I was 24, after a long illness, so I had some personal experience of loss, which didn’t get supported at the time.
What skills have you learned?
On the administration side – I have learned new computer skills and programs, which enable me to work more effectively.
In grief support – I’ve learned to maintain calmness and I’ve become stronger. I’ve developed my listening skills and ability to be there for others. I’ve extended my awareness of appropriate support e.g. helping children to see it’s ok to have fun and grieve at the same time, and that talking about and sharing grief can help towards feeling better.
Being with grieving children and hearing what they say has further developed my empathic skills. Cooperating and working with other volunteers has also been really beneficial.
What is the best part about being a volunteer?
The kids I meet and how amazing and inspirational they are.
What is the worst thing about volunteering?
What advice would you give to anyone unsure, but thinking about becoming a volunteer?
Go for it! There is so much to gain from volunteering.
We thank Julie and all of our volunteers for the invaluable work they do. If you are interested in working with us as a volunteer in fundraising, admin or with families, please contact Sarah Dodson by email: firstname.lastname@example.org