I volunteer for SHINE because: I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to feel safe, happy, included and supported, and to be given an equal start in life.

The most rewarding moment: There isn’t one moment specifically. It’s every time that I go into the prison, and I witness the loving interaction between a child and their father, and when kid’s tell me that they look forward to Sundays because they get to do drawings for Dad. It’s really heartening to know that we are facilitating these positive interactions, and supporting these kids.

The most difficult situation: I have been really fortunate to have had nothing but positive experiences when working for SHINE. Many friends and family ask me if I find going into the prison scary or threatening, or if it’s difficult interacting with the prisoners, but to be honest, the only interactions that I have had with both corrections staff, prisoners, and families, have been very polite and extremely positive. I believe this program brings a ray of light into the prisons, which has a positive effect not only on the children visiting, but on the place as a whole.

The most challenging time: I always find it hard when kids ask me a question I can’t answer. Sometimes the question is ‘when?’, or ‘how?’, but the hardest question to be asked is always ‘why?’

I like helping others because: I have been so very fortunate to have been born into a family with loving parents, a brother, grandparents and extended family who have always been there to support me and encourage me, and provided a good home, food and education, to enable me to reach my full potential. Sadly, many children, through no fault of their own, don’t have this kind of start in life, and I believe that those in society who have been privileged, have a duty to support these children, to help them to reach their full potential, and to SHINE.