LJ on volunteering with JET’s Youth Programmes in North Wales
LJ, wife of one of the serving personnel at RAF Valley, has been volunteering with JET for a year. She recently supported JET’s “Yes We Can / Gallwn” project funded by the Armed Forces Covenant, working with Ysgol Llanfawr’s Year 6 pupils on 10 teamwork sessions.
“When working with the young people, you’re not at arm’s length. You can see the development and witness the change. As a member of the RAF community, it’s good to reach out to the community and become an active part of it.”
I have always been interested in volunteering, as I want to make more valuable use of my time. I am interested in working with young people now and in the future, so volunteering for JET provides a great experience.
I have a lot of empathy, plus I’m not a judgmental person. I also feel I have experiences I can share, giving the young people an element of self-belief and helping their desire to change and ultimately for them to achieve their potential. My parents were only 17 when they had me, leaving school with no qualifications and life was a struggle. Through the support of my parents, I branched out, broadened my horizons and went to university. I feel I can help widen the young people’s outlook and show them their potential.
The role I have with JET is fab. I support the JET Youth Liaison Officer in delivering sessions, either on the base, at school or on days out. Because I am not responsible for the delivery of the session, I feel I have more time with the young people, so I can support them on their level. My favourite session was when taking the Year 6s from Ysgol Llanfawr indoor climbing. The range of emotions shown in that session, from fear and low confidence to the joy when the young person overcame their fears and felt more confident. The students were so intuitive towards each other, empathising and encouraging their peers. It was a very moving session.
Being involved with JET has definitely increased their confidence. I feel the young people look forward to the future more, with a more positive outlook. I also feel they have accepted who they are, being more comfortable in themselves and hopefully, I feel they would be less inclined to bow down to peer pressure.
Volunteering with JET has given me a boost to my self-belief and confidence; I feel I’ve made a difference to these young people, and I feel valued by them, as well as by the JET staff and school staff. The sessions are fun and you get to experience new things, such as the simulators on the base to having days out in Snowdonia. The experience has also helped me get a job locally, working with young people. It’s been a great experience, and even though I will be working, I hope to continue to volunteer for JET when I can.