Holly and The Butterfly Trust

17 September 2013

My name is Holly Bear (21). I am a final year psychology student at the University of Glasgow.

I started volunteering when I was 15 and have been doing various paid and unpaid work with vulnerable children and adults ever since. In this work I witnessed first-hand how much good you can do when providing someone with quality support and a non-judgmental listening ear.

The Butterfly Trust is a charity which offers people living with Cystic Fibrosis ‘choice opportunity and support’. Their mission statement struck a chord with me and I knew I had the experience and skills to make a real difference with a child or young person living with Cystic Fibrosis. I identified with what they were trying to achieve and felt this was a very good cause and that children and young people could benefit greatly from having the support of a befriender.

I was on the team in no time and was assigned a nine year old girl as a befriendee. We began to build a relationship which is now extremely strong and built on mutual trust and friendship. I always try to think of creative, fun and novel activities for us to do that serve some form of larger purpose. Activities that have some form of learning value or may serve to enhance her self-confidence, life experience and values. I have been befriending now for over a year and the positive results are clear to see.

The main things I believe my befriendee has gained from The Butterfly Trust befriending is that she tries things that she has previously never done – such as going round the rapids at the local swimming pool or ice-skating without holding on to the side. These are things she may never have tried without having someone she trusted there to hold her hand. Furthermore, I am able to give her time away from her siblings to spend quality time doing a variety of things she may not have been able to do otherwise, giving her the opportunity to speak at length about anything she wants.

However it is not just my befriendee who has benefited from The Butterfly Trust and their befriending programme. As well as being able to help others and being able to watch your input benefit others, I have gained a high level of personal satisfaction and a great sense of achievement and self-value from befriending. It has taught me a lot about how to build and sustain relationships with a child and about how her illness affects her daily life.