How long did you volunteer with Bobbi Bear and what did the work consist of?
I volunteered with Bobbi Bear for 6 weeks from the end of August until the beginning of October. My work involved playing with the children and helping out with all sorts of general tasks at the Tree Clinic, from providing food and drinks to the patients to helping out the medical staff.
For four of the six weeks, I cared for two adorable little girls, taking care of them with the help of some of the other volunteers. We assisted the younger one with potty training and had a wonderful time playing with and looking after her and her big sister.
What were your expectations before starting? Did these match up to your experience when you finished?
It could be quiet at times, as there weren’t always as many calls from abuse cases as I was told to expect – which is a good thing! This gave me the chance to interact with the kids, women and staff at Bobbi Bear which was a great opportunity to learn about their lives. Their stories of survival, resilience and happiness would make a very good book. They do so many good things for the abused women and children, and I’m sure they help them see that there’s still some good in people despite the suffering they’ve been through.
How do you feel the experience changed you?
Before my stay, I already felt like I had a good deal of experience with children but it still felt amazing to be that important for these girls and to see them so happy to have people who love them. I am 100% certain my time at Bobbi Bear has made me a better mother and that’s an experience that will benefit me as well as my daughter.
In your opinion, should people do volunteering?
It differs from person to person but I feel people need to think about it and decide by themselves. But in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing to lose and so much to gain by doing some form of volunteering. I definitely feel the whole experience has complemented me as a human being and it also has enriched my life.
Why should someone choose to volunteer with Bobbi Bear?
You should choose the one that fits you the best but I can say you will never regret choosing Bobbi Bear.
The Bobbi Bear toy is an amazing device that’s helping children face and overcome the horrible experience of sexual abuse in a groundbreaking way. It’s basically a toy that can be used in a non-threatening way during an interview to show where the child was touched. The fact that it’s a toy makes it easier for the child to point out what happened in a way that may not be possible given the state of shock the children naturally exhibit after going through such a traumatic experience.
Another beautiful aspect of your volunteering experience would be the opportunity to meet the incredible staff at Bobbi Bear – people who devote every second of their lives to helping other people. The founder Jackie is the most inspirational person you’ll ever meet and her dedication to helping victims of abuse will stay with you forever.
Can you name the most impactful moment of your volunteering experience?
At the risk of repeating myself, I would have to say being around Jackie was the most powerful impression of my volunteering experience. Meeting and getting to know her had an enormous impact on me. She is a powerful, fantastic woman and it was an absolute privilege to live at Bobbi Bear.
Taking care of those two little girls who had been through so much trauma and grief at such a young age and to witness their tears, their smiles, and how they pushed on to try to be happy. They are in my heart and will stay there as I constantly think about them, hoping they are well and happy now. None of that would have been possible without the good work the legendary Jackie and everyone else at Bobbi Bear do.
Would you like to join the Bobbi Bear volunteer programme?