“I feel like SNAP has given me a lot and I wanted to give something back”
From sibling, to SIBS4FUN week volunteer, to session volunteer; Bella has covered most of the bases as a young person at SNAP. In this Volunteer Spotlight, she shares the impact SNAP has had on her and her family.
As the younger sibling of a neurodivergent young person, Bella’s family have attended SNAP for nearly 14 years, and she can’t remember a time without SNAP…
“I’ve been coming to SNAP since I was six months old, so because of that, I feel like SNAP has given me a lot and I wanted to give something back. My brother’s got ASD and Severe Learning Difficulties so he started attending SNAP from an early age.
“SNAP has supported my family throughout the years in so many ways. Currently the Family Team are helping my brother figure out what he can do after school, which we as a family are really struggling with. The team are taking a lot of stress off of my parents’ shoulders.
“I’ve been volunteering at SNAP for about a year now – I volunteer every Wednesday at drama and in the school holiday sessions. I started as soon as I could at 14. I take part in the drama games and activites, making sure I’m really enthusiastic to keep the children entertained and involved. It’s always very busy in the holiday sessions and keeps me on my toes which is a lot of fun! The children get a lot of use out of the table football and the soft play – that was one of my favourites when I was younger.”
“What I value most about SNAP is the togetherness and being able to support people. Having had the support for my family and now being able to help others is really nice. By volunteering in sessions I help to alleviate stress from the parents. The Family Team can then chat to parents and offer support while I play and interact with their child.”
As a sibling, Bella has been part of SNAP’s annual fun-packed SIBS4FUN week. SIBS4FUN is dedicated to providing siblings of children with additional needs, with a well-deserved break from their caregiving responsibilities. Siblings enjoy a week of exciting activities they would not otherwise get to try and meet other sibling carers, which helps them to feel less alone.
“Not everyone understands the pressures, responsibilities and things we can miss out on [as siblings].”
“I’ve been going to SIBS4FUN since I was 6 and now I’m 15. It’s a lot of fun and it gives me something to look forward to every year. It really helped in the summer holidays to have something for ‘me’ when I was younger, and have attention on me specifically and not on what my brother wanted to do. It was really nice to have a “me day” or a “me week” once every year.
“Last year was my first year as a SIBS helper. I put my name forward and got in! It wasn’t the same as attending as a SIB but I still had so much fun supporting and enabling the kids to have fun. It was so good being together and seeing familiar faces as well as being with all the big SIBS, who I grew up with and are such great friends. We can all come together and support the younger SIBS as we’ve been there. We all get it, we all understand and relate to one another because we all have siblings with an additional need or disability. Not everyone understands the pressures, responsibilities and things we can miss out on. There’s such a togetherness at SIBS. It’s like one big family. There’s always tears at the end of the week because we’ve all had such an amazing time. I can’t thank SNAP enough!”
“SNAP is incredibly important to me and my family. It gave my parents a place they could take me and put a lot of attention on my brother. Having a neurotypical and a neurodiverse child is quite hard to balance your attention between both of us but SNAP gave them that opportunity. It’s given me the opportunity to give back too.”
If you would like to volunteer at SNAP, please email [email protected].