Jenny, a former teacher, was a volunteer with Family Friends. She supported a single mum with three children under the age of five.
Having retired from 39 years of teaching in an inner city nursery centre, I decided to volunteer with Family Friends. It proved to be a positive, interesting experience and gave me a lot to think about.
I supported a single mum with three children under five and was lucky to watch her develop over the year from a vulnerable person into a strong, confident woman. The journey was incredible and although hard at first, led to so much change by the end.
Initially she was anxious about my involvement but soon relaxed. Over the time we had together I introduced her to games and activities to play with the children. We did something different every week ranging from visiting nurseries, drop ins, parks and housing offices to the job centre, cafes and museums. We learnt a lot from each other, feeling comfortable to speak about everything!
Family life changed dramatically for the mum when she was reunited with her husband. My role altered then to what felt like a marriage guidance counsellor for a few visits but as the family readjusted and settled down they all seemed much happier.
Both parents got jobs, the two older children are now at school and the baby is looked after by the grandparents who have joined the family.
The mum has always been determined and ambitious and her self-esteem has grown. She is now in a better place. I never expected such a wonderful outcome. I felt a great sense of satisfaction when we said our goodbyes.