“I first got involved with Parent Champions because I had done all the parenting courses at St Stephen’s Children’s Centre and I thought to myself, ‘let me try the Parent Champions course and see what skills I can get from it’".
I felt that I would get more parenting skills – how to be a good father, and how we can bring dads in and for them to be interested in children’s activities. Also, I liked that it would bring the community together, so that the children can go and know each other.
After the training, I started passing information to other parents – some by social media and some word of mouth. I usually give them information about LEAP such as what activities are on and the support LEAP can give the community."
Talking to the community
“When I’m having these conversations with other parents it feels great, because you are passing on information which is going to bring the parents to the children’s centre and give them skills of how to support them with their kids. It feels great to be involved.
When I approach another parent to have a chat, I don’t want them to feel in a bad way for me approaching them. I ask if they have got time for me to speak to them. Most people, even kids, see me as approachable, I think it’s a gift.
Most of us parents need some encouragement and influence in a good way from other parents. When I started volunteering at St Stephen’s Children Centre, I noticed some dads used to come and just sit in the corner. But now they got confidence from me because I’m always one man in a group of many women, so they have started feeling comfortable, socialising with the group and talking about what’s going on in their families.
It’s important to encourage the parents to bring their children to the children’s centre because in my experience when the child has been taken to the children’s centre, their skills – the communication and emotional skills – are being learned before they go to school. It also helps the children to socialise and they learn how to share and how to play together.”
Benefits of volunteering
“I’ve benefitted from volunteering by getting more confident with communication skills and I’ve learned how to approach other parents and I’ve made friends. Also, through volunteering I’ve learned more about health and about early years.
I would like to continue further with my education in childcare or becoming a teaching assistant so I can carry on working with children. That’s my target.
It’s not easy to reach and satisfy the parents but now I’ve developed much more confidence that I can pass on information to them.
We need to keep doing more to spread the information.”