Name: Sophie Walker
Development and Engagement Volunteer, Manchester
What is my role?
I have joined Dreams as part of a University Placement year. I am assisting in the development of community engagement in the Manchester area where I am based, trying not only to fundraise but importantly reach as many potential dream children as we possibly can.
I am working hard to build ties with local communities; reaching out to schools, community centres and colleges, trying to get as many people involved in organising events, helping out and spreading the word about Dreams Come True. We kicked off the development with a celebration for the Dream Children at Hamley’s, truly reminding ourselves and the volunteers what Dreams Come True is all about.
I am also working with the Headstart programme run by the Challenge which is being implemented in Manchester for the first time. This programme gives young people the opportunity to give back to their local community through volunteering projects, such as with Dreams Come True. My first cohort planned a quiz night and raffle, calling their friends and family to get involved.
What do I enjoy the most about my role?
I am really enjoying watching the charity grow, as with every successful event and even emails sent I know that we are getting one step closer to reaching more children and ultimately helping children’s Dreams come true. The role is also full of diversity and flexibility as I reach out to a range of people and communities all the time. Their ideas and perspectives are all different meaning no two days are ever the same, bringing a refreshing sense of vitality when working for the charity.
This role also helps bring together different people that would never have usually crossed paths as we work with the Headstart programme, encouraging young people to think about charity and the dream families that we work with.
As development in Manchester is in such early stages I can’t wait to drum up more dream referrals and follow those stories through the Dreams process, seeing the effects of our development work first hand. Working for a smaller charity such as Dreams Come True allows you to really see the difference that you are personally able to make.
Why Dreams Come True?
Dreams Come True is not only an amazing cause and a charity that brings so much happiness to the people that deserve it the most, but it feels like a family. As the Dream Team work together to grant children’s wishes you can really see the dedication to the cause as they go above and beyond to make sure children have the best possible experience.
For example take Matthew’s dream to travel to space, I think this really shows what the dream team is all about - they put their heads together and came up with the next best possible thing as they sent Matthew on a zero gravity experience. Other people would have thought that was an impossible wish but not at Dreams Come True, that really showed to me how committed and creative the team really were and made me immediately want to be a part of something amazing.