Smile more and worry less

Published: May 11, 2015

by Katarina Sommerova

My name is Katarina, I am 25, and a student at the Masaryk University, Czech Republic, studying for a Masters degree in teaching adults with disabilities.

Recently I came to England for a month and volunteered at On Track, a FitzRoy day service for people with learning disabilities in Petersfield. English is not my native language, so joining FitzRoy was an amazing adventure for me, but I wanted to do it because I knew it would be the best way to see how to support people with a learning disability.

FitzRoy is such a great charity. The service users always come first which is very important. The staff really do the best for people with disabilities, and you can see the happiness on the faces of people they support.

During my month there I had the opportunity to try the many different activities and sessions On Track run, and I liked them all. Some of them were one-to-one, others were three-to-one, and it was really intense. The big kitchen there was always full of people and we had a lovely time making tasty lunch or cakes. I really liked being active and supporting members. We did a lot in the community, especially in the city of Portsmouth, and we spent a lot of time outside at FitzRoy’s Rural Skills project.

The members at On Track are great people and after a few days they knew my name, smiled at me, and asked me how I was. These are the best moments, when everything feels worth it.

Volunteering at FitzRoy taught me a lot; how to communicate and work with people with learning disabilities. I realised that you don’t always need words to communicate. The people with learning disabilities taught me how to smile more and worry less.

Volunteering is something that can bring you so much, you get to know new people, you teach people but you learn something too. My time at On Track was full of fun, adventure, activities, and I enjoyed every moment. Volunteering for FitzRoy is great and you should try it too!