Daniela came to Elidyr Communities Trust when she was 19 from Aruba, in the Caribbean sea. At home she was studying social care with children (6-16) and wanted to take a gap year. She chose to come to Elidyr Communities Trust to get a better understanding of disabilities and to support her studies.
What does a typical day volunteering look like?
I wake up early so I can have a shower and be in the house ready to help start breakfast at 7am. We then help the young people to wake up and get ready for their day, before joining together to eat. I volunteered in Gardevias house, which is a small house with only five students. We have some time to relax and chat together after cleaning up breakfast and before sessions begin just after 9:00am.
We help in sessions with trainees and have lunch with the young people, before returning together to the house at about 4:00pm. We then help with getting ready for whatever is planned in the evening; maybe going to the pub or youth club – or to a local event in the nearby town (Carmarthen). It can get quite hectic for a few hours as we get supper ready and get ready to go out.
Sometimes, we stay in and have a chance to relax – just focusing on making a nice supper. These are some of the best days, because you can sit around and talk with the young people, and have a chance to bond more with them. That’s my favourite part of the day, the evening when the house relaxes, you complete night-time routines to help the young people get themselves ready for bed.
What memories have you made?
I have made great memories, with the young people I met and during my time off. I’ve also had a chance to visit lots of places in Wales and in England; it’s really nice to see more of these countries, even though it’s really cold! But the thing that I will remember most is the meals we share together as volunteers when we’re home or when we go out. Our staple meal is just pasta, pesto, cheese and cherry tomatoes – we’d cook it together then eat it with little juice boxes when we were out.
What challenges did you face as a volunteer?
Although time goes fast because you were so busy, volunteering can be very tiring. On many days we’ll help from when the young people wake up until when they go to sleep — and though some people were quite independent, doing things themselves, others needed help with all aspects of their care.
What advice would you offer somebody who is undecided about volunteering?
You have to be somebody who is up for long periods of interaction with others, and to have a lot of patience with them. This is not advice but, it is rewarding at the end of the day. You can build an amazing relationship with the young people. The amount of stuff you can learn here is crazy. We had another volunteer once who didn’t even know how to put a sheet on a bed or how to clean a bathroom when they arrived. You become really independent when you come here; it’s a really good step to grow in life.
What have you learnt in your time with us?
I feel I’ve grown a lot stronger and more independent, and I’ve had a lot of fun experiences with the different activities I’ve taken part in. I think that now, I see life a lot differently to when I arrived.
Sue (Parent)Blockquote Content
Thank you to all the volunteers, you bring such delight, culture and experience to our young people. Thank you so much.
Pásztor BoglárkaBlockquote Content
I was a volunteer at Elidyr Communities Trust from 1997-98, it was a great life experience.
My favourite memories are of those evenings in the house when we just had a fun time in. We put music on and just danced together as we do our jobs around the home. That really was a lot of fun.