Making Memories… Giving Hope

Reflecting on another year at CHICKS


A year ago, Respite Break Leader Steve wrote about his first year in the role - each week he's one of the team who work with the children, making sure they have a safe, fun and exciting week. Read all about it here. Now he's been working at CHICKS for two years, he's again shared his thoughts...

In the music industry, it is said that the second album is always the hardest.

So, as I reflect on the second year of my time at CHICKS as a Respite Break Leader
(RBL), I am thoroughly convinced that this doesn't apply to all walks of life.

In fact, this second year has merely served to cement the incredible feeling of self worth
that I get during and after each and every break.

As an RBL, it is always a joy to see a new group on the Mondays - full of trepidation,
anticipation, and, yes, sometimes stark fear...

These feelings manifest in many ways, but it is a delight to see that in the vast majority of
cases, within hours, the children have made new friends, bonded seemingly instantly and
are intent on making the most of their time with us.

This last year I have visited, with the children, a range of feelings and emotions that I
never realised I had. From the unbridled joy of seeing a nervous child overcome a
perceived limitation, to the proud feeling when helping to build “the tallest giraffe” out of
cardboard cartons, to outright tears when heartfelt words are uttered by a previously quiet
and withdrawn child - and a whole lot in between.

I found last year that, whilst the children certainly enjoy the activities that we
organise, sometimes it’s just the quiet chat, or the gentle encouragement that lives with
them and hopefully impacts on them for as long as they need the memory.

Memories for the children are what each individual cherishes, and therefore are different
for all - it could be the first time they have ever seen the sea, or the woods. It could be the
first time they ever tried a certain flavour ice cream, or something as simple as the ability to jump in a puddle!

The organisation as a whole has moved forward in the last year and we now stand at the cusp of our future in our 25th anniversary year.

Whilst I have unashamedly concentrated on the children (they are our core business, after all), I really must take time out to praise my colleagues - fundraisers, break leaders, co-ordination and others - all of who work so hard in their respective fields to ensure that the kids breaks are as good as we can make them. I am always amazed and humbled at the efforts they put in.

Add into the mix the amazing volunteers who give up their time and energy to ensure
every child is afforded the best break, and it really is a massive team effort - one that I am
proud to be a part of.

Here’s to the next twelve months and the never ending journey...

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