Peta, 50, from Devon, is one of over 800 dedicated volunteers who have supported YMCA in the last year. To celebrate Volunteer’s Week ( 1-7 June), Peta shares how she first got involved with YMCA and why volunteering at a YMCA charity shop has been life changing for her.
“I first got involved with YMCA at the age of 12 when I used to go to the YMCA youth club in Paignton. I suppose volunteering was always in the back of my mind, so when my manager decided to leave a different charity and started working for YMCA it seemed like the right decision to follow.
“I was inspired by YMCA’s work with children and young adults. YMCA have been a great support to me, especially in my youth when I needed somewhere to go and someone to talk to in difficult times.
“The best moments during my time volunteering for YMCA are the friendships I have forged and the feeling of being part of a family. The impact volunteering has had on my life has been overwhelming. I felt that when I had to pack up my hairdressing job after 30 years and being on the other side of 45 my working career was over. But with the training and encouragement from my managers at YMCA’s Newton Abbot shop, they have built up my confidence and made me see that age is not a barrier.
“The one thing I would say to young people to encourage them to volunteer is this. I know that you have a lot to do when you are a teenager, with exams, school and socialising, but a few hours a week volunteering at the weekend will boost your confidence, help you make new friends and prepare you for when you start work.
“I can truly say that this is best thing I have ever done, and my journey is still going. Thank you YMCA for the opportunities.”