Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Volunteer Q&A – Bedtime Reading

Full name: Christy Wheeler

Congregation: Bosch PM

Occupation: Business Manager, Graphic Design Agency

How long have you been a volunteer at Christine Revell Children’s Home? A little over 1 year

When do you go and for how long? I go on a Thursday evening for 1 hour from 6-7pm

Can you explain what you do while you’re there? We get the opportunity to read stories to the kids before they go to bed. There are about 30 kids and usually about 4-5 volunteers. So we each take the kids in pairs, choose a book and find somewhere to read to them in. We read for about 20 mins with each pair. That allows us to read to about 3 pairs in the hour. At the end we help to put the kids to bed. They all love it when we pray with them once they are all tucked in.

Can you tell us a bit about Christine Revell? CRCH is an amazing facility that is dedicated to caring for children who have been removed from their families for various reasons or abandoned. They care for the kids, feed, clothe and school them while they live in the home. There are 3 groups of kids: babies, toodlers and preschoolers. Unfortunately they don’t have the facilities to look after the kids once they go to Grade 1, so either they get reunited with their families or they get sent to another facility until they turn 18. CRCH relies on funding and volunteer help. And the kids really enjoy interacting with other people.

What are some of the challenges of volunteering with vulnerable children? These kids are hurt and broken. The symptoms of the injustices inflicted upon them range from lack of discipline and social skills to lack of empathy and attachment. Some of them don’t have long attention spans and often act out to get attention. After a year of building relationships with the kids, I find it much easier to know their unique traits and how to deal with each of them where they are at.

What do you appreciate the most about volunteering at Christine Revell? There are often days when I wish I didn’t have to go – its a long drive for me from town in the rush-hour traffic, especially when it’s raining. Most times I push through my selfish desires and go anyway and I am ALWAYS happy that I make that decision. I have so much fun with the kids and love having the opportunity to pray with them and build into their lives in some small way. Tickling them and making them laugh is the best.

I would really recommend this volunteer  opportunity to those who work during the day. I know a lot of the opportunities are during the day and this is one that only requires 1 hour of your week, after work. But beware – Once you get to know these kids, they crawl into your heart and never leave.

-If you would like to find about more about volunteering at Christine Revell, email info@commongood.org.za.

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One thought on “Volunteer Q&A – Bedtime Reading

  1. jon wilson on said:

    I totally relate. Sometimes I don’t feel like going, but push through the selfishness, and leave fulfilled. Of course, it’s not about me – rather the children. True, the do crawl into your heart.

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