A mother of three from Derrymacash is loving life as a volunteer with ChildLine, visiting local schools to spread an important message.
Angela Smyth (38) explained how she got involved with the charity organisation.
She said: “I applied about April/May time, was training over the summer and went out into schools for the first time in September.
“We visits each school twice, once to give a talk in assembly for P6s and P7s, then the second time we split into small groups and do workshops with the children.
“We talk in a very age appropriate way about all the different types of abuse that can happen to children.
“The important message for a child is, if something is worrying you, you should talk about it to a trusted adult.”
Angela has three children of her own, aged three, five and eight.
She commented: “It’s something that is really important to me. I’m really interested in working with young people.
“I’m training to be a counsellor so I started this to gain experience, but now I can’t imagine not doing it.
A mum who has kids at school and has some free time, this is absolutely fantastic. You can give as much or as little time as you want.
“It’s a fantastic programme which the kids are so receptive to. The training and support is second to none.”
ChildLine currently has almost 170 volunteers at the Northern Ireland counselling bases who give their time to listen and offer free, confidential, 24 hour help and support to children and young people who need to talk. But more are needed to help answer every child’s cry for help.
People can volunteer to support in two different ways; either at a ChildLine counselling base in Belfast or Foyle or as a Schools Service volunteer in primary schools across their local area.
As well as the counselling service, ChildLine also offers a pioneering new Schools Service, which aims to be in a position to visit every primary school in Northern Ireland once every two years by 2016, to talk to children aged 9-11 about abuse, how to protect themselves and where to get help if they need it. The Schools Service already has 80 volunteers but in order to protect a generation of children, one primary school at a time, ChildLine needs to recruit more people to help.
With stories of child abuse, exploitation and systematic child protection failures continuing to lead the news agenda, the service continues to be a vital lifeline for some children and young people.
For further information on how to apply visit www.nspcc.org.uk/childlinevolunteer