Meet Harriet, a remarkable volunteer whose journey with the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) began over twelve years ago. It was during her university days that the seed for volunteering was planted, as she learned about the profound impact that volunteering can have on charities and the lives they touch. Inspired by the idea of making a tangible difference, Harriet felt it was the right time and place to offer her time and skills to a cause that resonated with her values.

Overcoming Obstacles, Fostering Resilience

One of the most rewarding aspects of Harriet’s volunteer work has been witnessing the personal growth and achievements of the young people she supports. From cooking to indoor rock climbing, Harriett has seen them confront their doubts and fears head-on, embracing new challenges with determination and resilience that has never failed to inspire her. Harriet’s role has been to provide a supportive and encouraging presence, guiding them through these sometimes daunting activities and celebrating their triumphs, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

“It’s rewarding to see how a young person with vision impairment overcomes some of the fears of participating in some of the activities and rewarding to see how they then change. There’s a lot of anticipation to begin with, and then they see other young people who are similar to themselves giving it a go, and then they pluck up the courage to do it. And then there is this huge sense of achievement once they’ve done it. And it’s really kind of rewarding that you’ve helped and assisted a young person to overcome some of their challenges, especially if it’s a physical activity.” – Harriett

Forging Strong Bonds Through Shared Experiences

Harriet understands the profound importance of social connections for young people, especially those facing similar circumstances. During cooking sessions, supper clubs, and other group activities, she actively fosters an environment where connections can flourish naturally. With a keen eye for shared interests and experiences, Harriet gently encourages conversations and helps facilitate friendships, creating a supportive and inclusive community where no one feels alone or misunderstood.

Empowering Independence, Unlocking Potential

Harriett is dedicated to helping young people develop essential life skills that will empower them to navigate the world with confidence and independence. She sings the praises of RSBC’s holistic setup, from things like guiding young people through the intricacies of public transport to exploring opportunities for further education or employment.

“A child’s life and their development are from 0 – 18 years old. And that’s a lot of years for families to have to negotiate and manage their child’s particular needs.”

“When they start to go to school and have challenges accessing education… RSBC is there to support them. And emotionally for a lot of parents, I think they value very much the support that they get from RSBC.” – Harriett

Celebrating Diversity, Embracing Uniqueness

Harriet recognises that each young person she works with has a unique set of challenges. Some may have additional health concerns or disabilities, but she remains in awe of their determination to participate and make the most of every opportunity. It is this diversity that enriches the RSBC community, and Harriet embraces it wholeheartedly, celebrating the strength, resilience, and individuality of each young person she encounters.

Moments of Joy

For Harriet, the most rewarding aspect of volunteering is witnessing the joy and excitement that comes from the young people she supports. Seeing them fully engage in activities, interact with their peers, and enjoy each other’s company fills her heart with happiness and a sense of purpose. These moments of triumph, no matter how small are the fuel that keeps her going, reminding her of the great impact her efforts are having.

A Supportive Community, A Shared Mission

Volunteering at RSBC has not only allowed Harriet to make a positive impact on the lives of others but has also provided her with a sense of community and belonging that extends beyond RSBC. She cherishes the connections she has made with fellow volunteers, sharing their experiences, supporting one another through challenges, and drawing strength from their collective efforts towards a common goal of empowering those who society often overlooks.

Nurturing Dreams, Shaping Futures

Harriet’s hopes and dreams for the young people she supports are simple and sincere – that they grow up living their best lives, experiencing all that childhood and adolescence have to offer, and ultimately becoming happy, and independent adults. She imagines a future where their disabilities are not limitations but just challenges that they will confidently overcome, and where their dreams are nurtured and their potential is limitless.

“RSBC does try to make them think about ways in which they can become more independent, and it gives them the encouragement to think about whether they want to go on to further education… How’s that going to work? Where that’s going to be? How they’re going to manage that if they want to get a job? What sort of skills they may need? And what sort of assistance they may need to enable them to access work? All of these things, I think gives them a sense that these are real things that can happen for them.” – Harriett

Join the Journey

“What’s great about volunteering for RSBC is the flexibility. So you don’t have to prescribe to do ‘X’ amount of hours a month.  As the activities come up, you can decide which ones you wish to help with.” – Harriett

If you, like Harriet, want to make a lasting difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted young people, consider joining the RSBC volunteer community. With flexible opportunities and a supportive network of like-minded individuals, you can start your journey of empowerment and lasting impact.

Together, we can create a world where every child, regardless of their circumstances, has the opportunity to thrive and live a life without limits, embracing their unique talents and strengths while breaking down barriers that once seemed too difficult to overcome.

Interested in volunteering for RSBC?

Sign up to volunteer by filling in the online form or send an email to our friendly team at volunteers@rsbc.org.uk and we will be in touch with more information.