Tia is one of our volunteers at Cool Connections Youth Group in Harlow. She shared the story of her journey from Accuro Youth Club Member to Club Volunteer with us…
“So, I was late diagnosed as autistic and initially, I was really nervous about joining an Accuro club. I wasn’t sure if it would be right for me, but I found it was really beneficial to my mental health.
Being autistic at University can be a very difficult and isolating experience, so having that regular socialisation was really important for me. Even if it was just talking to staff sometimes rather than the other young people, it was super beneficial and helped with my social skills.
I think the freedom I felt within the space of club really did wonders for my confidence.
I’d never really had the chance to interact with people that were all like me in a way and being able to do that was a very freeing experience. I think the freedom I felt within the space of club really did wonders for my confidence. You can even see it in my University grades and how I was doing at Uni. The longer I spent at club, the more I felt able to speak up in classes and things like that.
Being able to give back and be able to provide that peer support to young people is just really important to me as an autistic adult
With that new found confidence, I’ve actually been able to come back as a volunteer for Accuro at a club and being on the other side of that experience is just as enjoyable and enriching for me. Being able to give back and be able to provide that peer support to young people is just really important to me as an autistic adult who struggled a lot when I was younger. I think all disabled young people really benefit from being able to speak to someone who gets their type of experiences.
As well as that, volunteering has continued to develop my confidence as an autistic person. Since I’ve started volunteering, I’ve done work experience and started paid work for the first time, which is something I’ve always felt really anxious about. Honestly, I don’t think I’d have been able to do any of this without the support I got from Accuro.”
Listen to Tia’ story and more from Cool Connections in our recent podcast episode.