Sarah is a director at dates-n-mates Aberdeen. One of the role’s of the Director is an ambassador for the members, as they create a link between them and the other staff making sure everything is inclusive. The Directors also get involved in a variety of tasks to help the project run smoothly.
Sarah is sharing her Director’s journey with us, over the next couple of weeks…
“Recently I have been working with gathering feedback from our members and asking them questions about what they like about dates-n-mates, what their favourite events were, etc. It was interesting to listen to what they had to say, and they were happy to give us feedback. The evaluation feedback was presented at the director’s meeting and the Development Day meeting in Glasgow.
I have also led a bowling event with 14 members attending it. My tasks involved helping the members and checking that everything is going as planned. At first, I thought it would be hectic knowing there were so many people attending and having such a big responsibility by doing all the tasks including making sure everyone was in the queue to pay and getting them all to the lanes. Regardless, everything went perfectly, and we had fun!
I have also held a few training workshops for our members. For example, in the confidence building training my colleagues and I help our members to build their confidence with the help of examples, ice breakers and group discussions. Currently, I am developing member led events training. It consists of showing the members how they can lead an event in case they want to volunteer. I also encourage the members by telling them about my own experiences and by explaining to them what kind of support they can ask for.
Sometimes I surprise the members with director’s surprise events, for instance surprise bowling. I am also planning a surprise lunch as part of an event in December, but I won’t reveal any more information about it yet!
Sarah’s big anti-stress project for members
I led an anti-stress/sensory workshop to show everyone how to cope and de-stress in their personal life. It was the first project I have planned and executed by myself from the beginning.
The idea popped into my head when I started following an autistic advocate named Agony Autie who makes education videos on the condition on social media. She also provides different methods of coping with autism. Her methods seemed useful and I wanted to share them with everyone. Agony Autie even inspired me to share my autism story back in April.
I had some doubts about my sensory workshop idea at first because I felt like people might not enjoy it and call the stress toys and other equipment (such as the colour therapy book) childlike and not appropriate for our members. Then I realised everyone has their own way of de-stressing and it should not matter what other people think. The only thing that matters is what everyone finds therapeutic and helpful for themselves.
Despite my doubts, the event was surprisingly successful, and the members were eager to do it again which I was very pleased about. Many also inquired how they could buy their own stress balls etc to de-stress at home.”