Amy Shearer is a dedicated volunteer who has been helping in the community since she has been 14 years old. Amy is passionate about helping others from a disadvantage or underrepresented community.
Tell us about your volunteering
I've been volunteering within Inverclyde for almost 10 years - starting with a club for children with disabilities when I was just 14-years-old. The 'U Matter Club' was an excellent place for youngsters with various disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, autism and blindness, to socialise and have fun in a safe space. From there, I went on to be a lead volunteer with 'Friends4Ever' club, a continuation of U Matter Club after it dissolved.
The groups were safe spaces for youngsters to be themselves and we were able to provide amazing opportunities every Friday night at the youth club and during summer and Easter play schemes. Unfortunately, due to University and work commitments, I had to part way with the Friends4Ever club. But, I'm now volunteering with Supportive Communities Befriending to help integrate New Scots into the Inverclyde area. The organisation do incredible work helping to make refugees feel welcomed into the wider community.
Why do you volunteer?
Since a young age, I've always been passionate about helping others and giving those from a disadvantaged or underrepresented community a voice. I've always believed in speaking up and out - something that I can now do in a professional capacity too. Certain stereotypes are associated with children with disabilities and also New Scots in the area, so by working alongside the organisations I've chosen I can help break down barriers.
What do you gain from volunteering?
Volunteering truly has made me the person I am today. I've gained invaluable life skills and had some 'money can't buy' experiences. For me, seeing a young person with a disability flourish and thrive with my support is a feeling you cannot compare to anything else. It helped me grow in confidence, learn more about myself as a person and truly allowed me to find out what I wanted to do with my life.
What would you say to someone considering volunteering?
Volunteering enriches your life in so many ways and opens doors into other opportunities. It's a great way to meet new friends and be introduced to people from various walks of life. If you are a young person looking to add to your CV, volunteering can provide a whole host of opportunities to help you gain a pathway into employment. There are so many reasons why volunteering is one of the best things I've ever pursued. I couldn't imagine my life now if I hadn't met some of my life-long friends through volunteering opportunities. It really opens your eyes to a world beyond your own!