Finding my voice through volunteering with spunout
As Denise finishes up her volunteering experience with spunout, she reflects on the journey it has taken her on.
Written by Denise Harding
Voices - Experiences
Young people share their personal experiences.
When I wrote my first article for spunout, I could never have imagined the path it would take me on.
In my early teens, I came across online content from spunout that really resonated with me. I can’t exactly pinpoint one particular article or piece of content that made me take notice, but stories shared by young people on topics such as grief, youth mental health and further education would provide me with support and reassurance throughout the years.
When I wrote an article on comparing yourself to what you see online, I thought I would reach out to spunout to see if it was the kind of content that would suit the website. It turns out that it was, and it became my first article to be published.
It felt important to me to give back to the online community that helped guide me through difficult times but little did I know that writing these articles was just the beginning.
In the years to follow, I would join the South-East Action Panel and I suppose it was in this role where I really started to shine.
Making a difference volunteering with spunout
We were still very much in the land of online video calls when I began my time on the Action Panel, and while it would have been nice to meet everyone in person, it was during these calls I would start to contribute towards youth issues and build relationships with some amazing youth advocates and workers that I now call friends.
It’s hard to sum up such a unique experience in one piece of writing, but some of the stand-out moments to me are my involvement in the 2021 impact video where I shared for the first time publicly my experience of going through grief at 13 after the passing of my brother. It was the first time I ever wanted to share my story because the grieving process for young people isn’t often a topic spoken about and I wanted to let other young people out there know that they are not alone in how they may be feeling.
I prepared for and co-hosted a breakout room during our 2021 Zoom Pride event which was such an encouraging space, and not something I ever thought I was capable of taking on at the time.
I got to be involved in and create content for campaigns such as the ‘Reasons To Get Your Cervical Check’ TikTok series, and the ‘Emotional Glow-Up’ campaign to name a few. I also sat in on and contributed towards meetings with some social media and tech giants on cyberbullying and internet safety.
Volunteering gave me my voice back
This all sounds like serious and important work, and it is, but as a group, we never failed to have the craic either which was evident during the in-person meetings we finally got to have.
To be a spunout volunteer is to be a part of a community that truly values the voices of young people and that’s probably what makes it so special.
Before I joined as a volunteer, life challenges I faced would have begun to silence me a bit, but my involvement with spunout helped me to regain a voice I forgot that I had and for that, I will be always grateful.
Help us reach even more young people
- Are you interested in helping to shape Ireland’s youth information website?
- Do you have stories and opinions that you think will inspire, support, educate and engage young people across Ireland?
- Do you have a passion for writing, making videos/podcasts or working with your peers on important issues?
- Are you aged 16-25 and living in Ireland?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, volunteering with spunout is for you!
There are a number of ways you can volunteer with us depending on your interests. Check out our volunteering options.