Hello my name is Donna
Online support group leader
My name is Donna and I run online support group for kinship carers, I absolutely love my role, using my experience from being a Kinship Foster Carer and now a Special Guardian.
Being a Kinship, I understand the importance of the emotional turmoil a kinship carer has to go through. It can be a long journey and not one that is not in need of strength and support along the way.
I first stumbled on Kinship Carers UK when I was all about to give up, I was tired of fighting and ready to throw in the towel, that friendly voice one evening gave me hope and strength to continue but more than anything made me realise I wasn’t alone. I’ve never looked back since and proud of what we have had to overcome as a family. Sincerely smiling on the inside knowing I owe that happiness to Kinship Carers UK. I wanted to give back and give others that hope and strength I once needed.
What I do
One thing I have certainly learned from volunteering for Kinship Carers UK is that every single kinship family is unique, and should be treated accordingly. That starts with listening. I get allocated a group each week that is always full to capacity. My preparation time is 10 minutes either side making sure admin is kept up to date. Group sessions last for one and a half hours a week. Some weeks there will be tears, some anger, some laughter, most of all a community and great friendships. It doesn’t matter if you’re new or a regular, what matters is that you’re always welcome and never alone. I have noticed as a group leader the onus isn’t always on me as a leader. We support one another, we listen collectively and share information surrounding kinship care that alternatively wouldn’t be available.
My greatest reward without a shadow of a doubt is seeing that new person come along, sometimes broken and in tears and months down the line out of nowhere they have confidence in themselves, they stand up and be accounted for, they are a force to be reckoned with. Why? For the very same reasons as I did. Out of love for the children we never gave up on. Other Kinship Carers that come along for advice because of the way they and their kinship children are being treated, by letting them know their rights and giving them courage and confidence changes their path. Seeing kinship families thrive and empowering kinship carers, is a great reward in itself.