Ameila want to share her journey with her Independent Visitor. She is extremely passionate about promoting IV services, as she has experienced first-hand how effective the service is for children and young people. She has also been involved in fundraising activities to raise money for Barnardo’s to help IV services in her local area. She has been inspired by her IV to become one herself and help change the lives of children and young people. Ameila is now 21 years old, and was matched with her IV for 5 years.
“I remember having a questionnaire about myself and a chat with someone from the Barnardo’s to get to know me and narrow down the matches. He came back in a couple of weeks with some booklets about some possible IV’s; the first one looked like my mum and put me off instantly because of this. The second one had a picture of Sally on a slope, as a keen snowboarder at the time I felt I had something in common with her and the rest of the booklet confirmed that she sounded like someone I would get on with well. Sally took me to do all sorts of activities that I really wanted to do and wouldn’t have got to do otherwise, we went to snowdome together and really bonded over sports we both love.
She also did the smaller trips, like taking me to the cinema to see films I was desperate to see and going for coffee to chat, getting to do these outings made me feel normal, as other children would speak about family outings and shopping trips with their mums/ family. Sally told me she loved her mother for having taught her self-confidence and how to love herself, and that this was something she wanted to share and pass on, this felt genuine and meaningful, she wasn’t just another person employed by Social Services who only came to see me for their job and would leave after a couple of months.
Sally wanted to get to know who I really was and how she could help me personally. Then there was the real break though, where I had made a mistake but wasn’t able to admit it, I had been taught to lie and hide anything I had done wrong. Instead of telling me off or punishing me, Sally shared a story of something similar in her life growing up. She taught me it was okay to make mistakes and most importantly, that it really was okay to be honest. That mistakes happen and they shouldn’t be held against me for my whole life. I’m 20 now and I still meet up with Sally and I really look forward to it. Catching up with Sally feels like catching up with family, she sends me congratulation cards for my achievements and seems genuinely proud of me.”