Why did you want to work at Incredible Kids?
After running a Hair Salon for many years, I was looking for a career change that still involved working closely with the public. As a people orientated person, I needed a career that would allow me to still be connected with giving people a reason to smile and helping to bring a window of happiness to their lives.
What do you love most about your job?
I could sum this up by describing one recent event. On our recent girl-orientated session, I stepped away from the madness of the slime creating for a brief moment, and whilst behind the big closed doors, I was suddenly stopped in time, by the echoes of the girls interacting and laughing together. I heard my name shouted many times, asking where I had gone and it was a point in time that I will always remember whatever my future holds. My work doesn’t only connect and boost the esteem of our kids, it teaches you that by the essence of giving, you are rewarded with the same confidence and wellbeing.
Alongside this, there are so many many occasions that leave me with the sort of memories that are ones that give meaning to my life and set it apart from any career with sales performance targets or prizes. Seeing a child with no self-esteem grow in time, to be able to tolerate other children near them, high five a little mate they have made, sing in the sunshine to the cheesy music I play sometimes, and a table full of teens that struggle with anxiety bonding over being reckless with the tomato puree’ on the teen night, is strangely rewarding. Seeing a pile of little bodies flying down a waterslide, messing with a hose whilst wearing your Batman cape that you spent ages getting annoyed with, is the ultimate reward.
I love hearing the kids blowing their annoying whistle pops at the gates when we close. That sound to you as parents must be like torture as you navigate your way home, but to me, it’s the equivalent of the curtain call cheer. I love the fact they run to the feedback board with little pudgy fingers sticking smiles on for us.
Mostly I adore working with my parents. I may not be an expert in many fields, but to be allowed and trusted with the opportunity to apply my own personal experience, training and knowledge of mental health to my role is the most amazing and totally satisfying thing ever. I love that the Parents trust and confide in me on a wide range of their problems alongside the SEND law training I have been given, I am able to lighten their burden and do something useful to help. For me, sitting in the herb garden with a coffee and just simply listening without judgement and letting anyone feel less alone, is the difference I wanted to make in my life and this job feels truly meaningful.
Working at Incredible kids is so varied. One moment I’m making balloon swags for an event, the next I’m covered in glitter and slime, then I could be travelling a zip wire, making a den, whisking up my loaded hot chocolate with an excited face pressed on the window watching me, or playing board games in the sunshine. A few weeks ago, we were packing down session and I was rinsing off the slide with the hose. The sun on my skin and the water splashing on me, with a great team of staff all mucking in, outside with our music on, chatting and laughing felt like one of those ‘aren’t I lucky moments.
Which was your most memorable moment at Incredible Kids
Where do I even start or finish with this question? They are continuous and endless but as another example, I’ll take this recent Christmas.
After a difficult and challenging year with COVID, we yet again dared to step beyond the boundaries of limitations that we felt were not in balance with looking after our service users and their mental health.
Standing in the wooden shed turned grotto, lit up with fairy lights in the dark, the trees blowing and the smell of candles burning, while children sat on the floor by Santa (the real one) gazing in awe was superb. I wanted to breathe at the moment and hold it there forever with beautiful choral music and little hands clutching sweetie cones and Parents stood together, through all of the troubles of their year, feeling that they were with family, with us.
How has working at Incredible Kids changed you?
I have always been a terrific people pleaser and Incredible Kids has taught me that I can be that and be a good person while maintaining healthy boundaries to keep myself well. I have a lot of responsibility as a Supervisor, but the Trustees are a great support and as a Christian organisation, they helped me to lose the fear and destructive self-criticism which in turn has helped me to grow in confidence and achieve so much. I have myself fought a battle with my mental health most of my life and the support and encouragement have been amazing. In other workplaces, I have experienced discrimination and I love the inclusivity that extends to the staff as well as our families.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I absolutely love rock and heavy metal music! I like going to festivals (when they re-open again) and camping. I also love meeting up with the other staff for coffee or charity shop shopping! I like taking the lid off my car and driving around with my whippet Bart and see his ears flapping in the wind. I love to spend hours in the scrap store chopping up stuff and creating things. I am a diamond art addict not in recovery.
Oh and the husband. He has to live with my IK craft things the kids give me, taking over his home. I like spending time with him.