Having benefitted from Home Link Family Support's befriending service when her own child was young, Amanda, a current volunteer Befriender, has a real appreciation for the type of support that is being offered to families with young children through the befriending scheme. When she had her son, she found herself depressed and isolated.
"I kept myself prisoner in my own house," she says. She had a great experience with her volunteer Befriender and endorses the value of "someone coming into your house, being supportive and non-judgmental and breaking the vicious cycle of depression that keeps you thinking that no one else knows what you need or what it's like to be in your shoes."
When her own children were both in school, Amanda decided to do something meaningful with her spare time. She found she had time on her hands and decided to see what could happen if she volunteered to offer support to other families with young kids who needed the type of support that she once did. She initially felt that she didn't have the skills that a volunteer Befriender would need. But she had lots of life experience and was reassured that this was a valuable tool and could be used to support others. She felt confident that she could use her experience to help others because she had been a tough spot herself in years past.
Since that time, Amanda has been matched with three families. At first, her confidence was shaky and she would phone the Home Link office before and after every visit with her own questions and anxieties. But as her first match got going, she found that conversation would flow naturally and if nothing else, the kids would keep things from being too quiet!
After supporting one of her families for a year, the match has drawn to a close. Amanda noticed an increase in the family's confidence, particularly in the way that they interact with their kids and how they operate in the house. The family seems much stronger and gained the confidence to handle what life brings to them.