Volunteer and help young people in care

Picture: Michael Cooper
Picture: Michael Cooper

Two Coleraine girls are encouraging you ng people to follow in their footstepa by volunteering for VOYPIC.

Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) is an independent, Northern Ireland charity that aims to improve the life chances of children in care and care leavers.

Now the charity is hoping that local pair, Sharon and Emma’s story might inspire others to join the team of volunteers.

Emma is 14 and got involved with VOYPIC last year. Sharon volunteers as her mentor and the pair started to meet up regularly in September 2015.

On the first ever Care Day last month they came all the way from Coleraine to rock Belfast City Hall for The Care Factor.

Some of Emma’s goals are about attending school regularly as she has hopes to become a hairdresser and knows that her education is really important to that.

Sharon has also been helping Emma with her fitness and health – they’ve started walking together and have plans for the gym! Becoming independent and building up her social life are goals that Sharon has helped Emma to set so they’re working on joining a club and have had plenty of fun going to the cinema, bowling and celebrating Christmas and Halloween.

Already at only a few months into meeting up, Emma is more confident and happy to try out new things. Sharon has had quite a compliment from Emma who says “She’s good craic!”

It’s VOYPIC’s job to match volunteers with young people and support both of them as they work to achieve the young person’s goals.

A VOYPIC spokesperson says: “We know from listening to the volunteers and young people what their time together means to them and how much it helps.

“Right now, we have young people aged from 12 to 18 living in care who are ready and waiting to be matched with a volunteer.

“They’re all set to work on goals to help them at school, with their education and other stuff they find a challenge. Could that volunteer be you? If you’re over18 with the time to meet a young person once a week, we’d like to hear from you.

“You’ll do training to OCN Level 3 in Mentoring Care Experienced Young People and the whole way through, you’ll be supported by your local VOYPIC team.

If you’re ready to volunteer to be a mentor and mean it, come and join our team and make a difference.

Please phone VOYPIC on 028 9024 4888 to find out about opportunities in your area and how to get involved.