Interview: being a young volunteers and making a difference

By Luke Wallace, Energize Manager

I caught up with Lewis, a 16-year-old young volunteer at Energize, about how Energize has helped him and his experience volunteering with us.

When did you first get into contact with Energize?

When I was in year 9, I did some things that weren’t good. I got into trouble and started struggling at school. Luke from Energize started working with me as a mentor, and this gave me someone to talk to each week.

Energize works in schools around Lincoln and is currently providing mentoring services to over 30 pupilsif you’d like to see Energize get involved in your school, check out our prospectus here!

What’s your story?

My behaviour wasn’t good, I found it hard to keep my temper and had a few incidents leading to me almost getting excluded permanently. Thanks to the help I had from teachers at school along with Energize, I’ve come on miles! Luke’s worked with me every week for about two years, other teachers and staff at school came along side me which made a big difference. I’ve come along to other Energize things too- like the youth club and holiday schemes. At my last TAC meeting, my head of year said she’s really happy with my progress.

What have been some of your favourite Energize memories?

Meeting new people and making new friends have been the best bit. I loved paintballing in the summer, and remember holding out in a broken down church with my brother against Luke, Nick and a load of other young people. The PGL weekend away as a big highlight too. We went away to Caythorpe from a Friday to Sunday and did loads of adventurous activities.

We’ve found Energize clubs and schemes are a great place for young people of all ages to make friends and try new things outside of school. Check out what’s on in our events calendar, or sign up to an Energize club here.

What made you start volunteering?

Energize was making a real difference in my life and I wanted others to feel the same. I want other young people to feel a part of something in Lincoln.

Get in touch if you’re interested in volunteering with Energize!

How do you help Energize?

I help at Energize youth clubs. I come early to help set up, and then during the club I help run games and activities. Last week I ran a pool tournament and in the Easter holiday I taught everyone how to play American Football. I find volunteering massively rewarding.

How has volunteering developed you?

Volunteering has helped give me a more balanced mind and make better life decisions that can affect me. It’s also grown my confidence, particularly when I’m in front of other people.

I remember a time when I first started volunteering there was a young lad who was about 10 who completely lost his temper and ran outside shouting and screaming about something. I saw myself in him, and went outside with some pens and paper. I chatted to him and we say drawing together for about half an hour and he calmed down completely.

What would you say to another young person who wanted to get involved in young volunteering, but was feeling a bit unsure where/ how to start?

I’d say volunteering feels amazing so just jump into it. It’s okay to feel shy at first but don’t let that stop you.

Closing thoughts

I’m so proud of the progress Lewis has made with Energize- he’s one example of a young person we’ve initially worked with to help, and has ended up not only making progress but helping others too. Our mission is to see ’empowered people in thriving communities’, and therefore love to see those we support- however old or young- building a willingness to make a difference where they live.

All our work needs support though, through volunteering and through finances. If you’re interested in playing a part in helping young people in Lincoln, please visit our Get Involved page.

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