- Home > Blog > My Year as a Depaul EVS Volunteer
My Year as a Depaul EVS Volunteer
By Isa Carreira - 21 June 2017
Isa Carreira shares her experience of volunteering for Depaul’s Get Up and Go programme and how she helped young people through a wellbeing workshop.
Hi, I’m Isa. I volunteered for Depaul in 2016 as part of the European Voluntary Service (EVS).
I spent my year working in Depaul housing projects in and around Newcastle and Whitley Bay. I worked with other EVS volunteers to help facilitate Depaul’s Get Up and Go programme.
The programme is led by volunteers like me and uses creative and physical activities to help young people build their confidence and gain new skills.
At Depaul, I spent a lot of time supporting the different Get up and Go activities. One of my favourites was a wellbeing group.
Many of the young people at Depaul struggle with emotions and often resort to unhelpful coping strategies to face their problems.
The group was created for young people in the Whitley Bay area to better understand their feelings, learn how to cope and build up their confidence. We wanted to offer a positive activity to improve wellbeing and mental health.
Eleven young people were part of the group and there were two group facilitators, including me. We offered eight sessions with a focus for each one. The topics included "What makes us tick?", "Minds Matter - skills to notice our thoughts and manage them" and "Bouncing Back".
In one session, we asked young people to write down the different things they associated with confidence on Post-it notes. We then stuck all their ideas up to start a discussion on how to work on our self-esteem.
During the workshops, young people within the group shared their experiences and engaged really well with each other.
It was nice to see that they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts and appreciated each others' points of view.
Over time, the young people learnt a lot from each other. One young person said: “I learnt a lot about others perspective and how they think about certain things.”
Another said: “Great session. It’s like a weekly regiment. It helps instil a structure in the mind.”
It was great to have positive feedback. It was also very nice to hear from the young people that it had helped them understand their emotions and how to better set short and long term goals.
I have now finished my year at Depaul. It has been a rewarding experience, as well as a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people.