When I was a teenager I drifted from minor job to job, never staying more than a few months in any one. I’d had a difficult childhood and never really felt I belonged and that carried through to my work. But then I became a mother at 20 and by the time I married at 23 I’d had my second. I had responsibility heaped on me, and while it was stressful I loved it. But I started to want something for me. When both my kids were in school and nursery I started to focus on myself a little more, which has never been an easy thing to do. That year my New Years resolution was ‘Stop wanting. Start doing’. I looked for a job, but not being able to drive and having a very limited skill set there just wasn’t anything local. I decided that if I couldn’t get a job, I would volunteer. I found a local charity and started with one day a week. It quickly escalated to more. And I found something in myself. I’d found my path in charity. A couple of years down the line I was taken on at one of their new shops and eventually rose to manager there. I loved my job. I was a workaholic. And then I got pregnant again, 11 years after my last child. It was a massive shock, and while I love him dearly, the surprise was a mix of elation and sadness. After working myself hard right up until a week before giving birth, I took my maternity leave. I desperately wanted to go back to work, but the childcare costs were too much and having two children with high functioning autism at home who were starting to struggle, it was clear where I was needed. My path would have to wait. It really didn’t take long for everyone in the house to realise that if it had to wait a long time I would begin to lose myself. When I checked my email and saw my application for Random Acts sponsoring to become a crisis responder had been accepted I couldn’t believe it. I’d applied before I found out I was pregnant. A fan of Supernatural from the beginning, a chance to help people stemming from a connection to something else I loved seemed too good to be true. I jumped at the chance. I’d always been the listener, now I could learn how to help other people too. The more I went through the training, the more I enjoyed it. Since completing the training and becoming a certified crisis responder I have never felt more like I belonged somewhere, never felt more on the right path. I can volunteer from the comfort of my own home with my noisy toddler running around. Every week is different, it never gets boring and I can’t ever imagine not doing it.
I don’t believe in coincidence. I’m here at the right time, learning the right skills and hopefully I can help more people. Other people can win the lottery. I’m happy right here doing this.
*If you are interested in volunteering with IMAlive, sponsorships are still available. Apply today!