Give it up!
Iesha Debenham, 15, is a pupil at Windsor high school, Halesowen.
I help out at Barnardo's Castle and Priory family support project, working with children aged between five and 11 who use the holiday scheme at Easter and during the summer. I will also be volunteering in September in the Why Me? support group, an after-school club, where I will be working alongside children with autism or related disorders and their siblings.
Whowhat inspired you to volunteer?
My mum volunteered with Barnardo's for 20 years, so it's been there all my life. I used to go with her to the projects, but it was after my week at the Castle and Priory on work experience that I decided I would like to volunteer more often.
How much time do you spend?
It's flexible, according to school holidays and how often I am needed.
During the summer holidays I am volunteering in one scheme for nine hours a week.
What do your friends think?
A few of them volunteer in youth clubs and other groups, so they are happy for me to do it. They think it suits me.
Have you received any training?
Not yet, but am looking forward to it in the autumn when I join the Why Me? group.
What do you enjoy the most?
Helping and working with others, particularly children. I like the idea that I am helping to make a difference to their lives, as the children rely on volunteers such as me. I am flexible about where and with whom I would like to work.
And the least?
Getting to the project. I have to travel to an area I don't know on two buses which, if the traffic is bad, can take up to an hour.
Has the experience changed you?
I don't think so, as I have grown up with it around me. I am gaining confidence and an understanding of childcare work. It might also help if I become a psychiatrist, as I hope to, by introducing me to people I might not normally meet.
Will you volunteer again?
Yes, and I will probably stick with Barnardo's as I feel secure there and they have been very supportive.
Do you encourage others to volunteer?
No, as I find it a personal choice.