Connor Smart, 22, has been an Ambassador Club Volunteer with Whizz-Kidz since September 2011.
What are your hobbies outside of WK? I enjoy playing football, creative writing and drawing.
Random fact: I once zip-wired across a lake from the Great Wall of China.
What are the highlights of your role? I love the interaction between the children and young people who attend the ambassador clubs; they all look out for and care about one another. I love it when they get competitive (and the kids at our clubs are super competitive) over a game of boccia or snakes and ladders. The way they band together to make sure everybody gets a turn at everything, no matter what their age or ability is just brilliant.
What will you take away with you? Working with such diverse groups of children and young people has been a real challenge. The ethos at our clubs is that everybody has a part to play and something to contribute to every activity and sometimes it can be difficult to make sure this happens, however the end results are always worth the effort!
Have there been any unexpected benefits from volunteering with Whizz-Kidz? When I first started with Whizz-Kidz I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I guess if I had to choose it might be making the trip down to the Houses of Parliament in London for the Kidz Unlimited awards, a real insight into the achievements of children and young people from all over the UK.
What are your main reasons to volunteer with Whizz-Kidz? It’s simple, working with Whizz-Kidz, it doesn’t feel like work. Both the staff, carers,volunteers and of course the kids themselves are so much fun to spend time with.
Tell us about your favourite memory of volunteering with Whizz-Kidz: It has to be the time I invited a young lad with a newly acquired disability to one of our clubs. He spent most of the time to start with staring defiantly at a wall and refused to participate. After an hour of watching our other ambassador’s antics, he told me quietly that “maybe Whizz-Kidz wasn’t that bad after all”. Next week when I caught up with him I found that he was taking more risks with his wheelchair, trying more self-transfers and wheelies after watching some of our most active and highly independent wheelchair users and the kind of wild stunts they were pulling. It was only one club but it made a real difference to his life during a very difficult time and it’s not something I’ll forget.