For over 50 years, Time for Kids has been placing disadvantaged children with committed and capable volunteers who serve as an essential support for children who require additional care, resources, opportunities and experiences than are available within their existing networks. This simple but extraordinarily powerful preventative intervention has been shown to change children’s lives – as well as the lives of their families and carers. Here’s what they say about their involvement with Time for Kids.
From our children and young people
In my [biological] family there wasn’t a lot of time you’d spend with your brothers and sisters and you wouldn’t get an opportunity to do a lot of stuff. So being at Tom’s gave me an opportunity to do a lot of things. I mean, the main thing was just going to someone’s place, sleeping over at someone’s house. … And, you know, getting a choice of things, like ‘What do you want for dinner tonight?’ You know, getting my own bed … my own room sometimes. Because you know at my house we were sharing rooms with three or four of us. You know, I’d have my own choice of room … have a shower to myself … We always had to share baths when we were younger. Ah, having a bike, you know. Tom would always have his old bike and I would be on that because I never had a bike of my own. Just having other friends to kind of hang out with. I mean, you see other people at school, but it’s really only when you hang out in the street and ride bikes, you know, stuff like that, that you make real friends. Luke
I just had this kind of huge family existence … that’s what resonates for me the most. Just being completely acknowledged by people that don’t owe me one single thing but treat me like their own. I was just normal to them and nothing out of the ordinary. And that’s what’s so special about it, you know. Nothing out of the ordinary. And that’s the wonderful thing about it – just being theirs. Kimberley
Oh, it was really good. Yeah, they were so welcoming and stuff. It was like a really good boost of confidence to be able to stay with them. They just made you feel somehow that they really wanted to know what was going on in your life. Yeah, they just had a real interest in what was going on. Definitely very positive. It’s a bit … character building. It was just really good. It … helps with confidence … being with complete strangers and meeting new friends. It’s like having a completely different second family, you know. Sam
You kind of learn a lot of new skills seeing people that you haven’t before. Like … more communications skills and things like that. And just being positive and being able to, you know, go and talk to people that you haven’t met before and things like that. It makes you feel really good about yourself as well. So, instead of feeling really crappy about yourself, it just makes you feel a lot better as a person. So, yeah, it’s really cool. Lizzy
So going there … they were genuine people. They weren’t doing it for the money or anything else. They just wanted to help out a random kid. Whereas in foster care, they made me feel like shit pretty well much. And they treat you pretty bad. So that was one definite positive thing about it. If it wasn’t for Anna and John, I probably would have been in foster care a lot more. I think of them from time to time, and remember certain things that I did with their family and that … It’s a real good thing, like, whoever started the whole organisation, like I definitely would give props to them because of what they’ve done. I mean, yeah, it’s really good. Like, whoever started the whole organisation was definitely using their noggin! Ryan
It was just completely stimulating and I just loved going there and I got so excited and it was not even like a holiday house. It was just like, ‘Oh, I’m going to … my other mum’s house‘. I’d have a great time … It was just so different and so stimulating, so I was just, like, dancing around … and I was just, like, singing and, you know. And everyone just thought Bec and I were like mother and daughter. And we’d just pretend we were because it was easier than having to explain everything to people. It was really fun. I could come out of my shell and I’d really feel, like, she’d support me. Kind of, like, boost me up. She’d say, ‘Oh, you know you’re great, you do this …’ and really make me feel good and adventurous and not so quiet like I was before. Like, I could just run around the house and feel completely supported by her. Carly
It was great, what I saw. I got to see what the dynamic [of a family] was – what they were like as parents. They were role models to me, and to how a family should be run, too. I liked the fact that I had my own time with them and I was not alone while I was there. They gave me understanding, yeah. I have no regrets about staying with them. David
From a volunteer carer
Time For Kids has been a life saver for our family. We got involved as a means of giving back after a tough couple of years with some sad and difficult personal stuff. We heard about the organisation through the book, ‘It’s about time: giving kids a break’ which we picked up from our local library.
It took us a while to get all the necessary documentation in place, but December 2011 we finally met our little R who is from a large happy family. She is bright, she is funny, she is a ray of sunshine and is truly just what the doctor ordered for us. R comes to us once every 3-4 weeks and enjoys having her own room and her own toys that she doesn’t have to share with anyone else. Rather a novelty when part of a large family.
We don’t do lots of activities but rather concentrate on simple pleasures. R & I love to do ‘afternoon tea parties’ and R is becoming very good at setting the table for this high tea event. It is a part of every weekend when she comes to stay with us.
Last time R came to visit, we decided to go to the beach after picking up our son from his dad’s place. It was a really hot night and so we thought a run in the ocean along with fish and chips on the beach would be good fun. R told us that she had never been to the beach. Our son was amazed and on checking with her mum, we found out that R had only gone to the beach when she was a newborn baby.
After the kids had had a good play and swim and dinner had been eaten, we suggested packing up our things and going for a walk on the jetty before the sun set.
“What’s a jetty?” asked little R. We pointed it out to her and she enjoyed running along the jetty with her ‘brother at our place’ and then coming back to hold our hands in turns. As we walked along the most amazing thing happened. There swimming along next to the jetty at Semaphore was a sea lion…..R was so excited……and it was just so so special.
People often ask us why we got involved with Time For Kids – there’s the answer – it’s the simplest of things that make it so fantastic. That look on our little R’s face was just priceless and we played a small part in giving her an opportunity that she would not have had otherwise. That is just the most amazing thing.
We are so thankful to Time For Kids for all that they do. If you want to give something back into this world then this is a great place to begin. Not only do you help others but you will find you get way, way more back.
From a grandparent
I am a single grandmother who has been raising her three grandchildren for the past seven years. Their mother has been battling a brain tumour all this time.
We do not have a big family and apart from me the children do not see any other family as they couldn’t be bothered. So they have no aunts or uncles or grandparents to take them out and spoil them with their time and love.
This is where Time for Kids has filled the void in their lives. My middle grandson has the most wonderful couple from Time for Kids who see him regularly and take him out for the day every two weeks. As my eldest grandson has Aspergers, this is a welcome break for my middle grandson as he finds it hard to deal with sometimes.
This is the only break he gets from his brother other than school. Without Time for Kids my grandkids would be spent stuck at home a lot more. Their older brother won’t go to a lot of places so it really limits where we can go.
Everybody needs someone to make them feel special and this couple does that for my grandson.
You’ll find more inspiring stories from past and present Time for Kids volunteers, families and children in our book, ‘It’s about time: giving kids a break‘.