It's Volunteer Week 2018! Our second feature on our fintastic volunteers takes us to Leeds to meet Coach Caroline.
1. How did you find out about Mini Mermaids?
Hannah came for a visit to my running club one cold April night and asked if any women would be interested in getting involved in a project, which used running to improve the self-esteem and resilience of young girls. I'd recently got involved in the Mental Health Ambassadors #runandtalk programme with Run England and had been missing working with kids. Some sort of instinct took over and before I knew it my hand was in the air. Hannah ran and chatted with me and I knew immediately this was something I wanted to do.
2. What are some of your more memorable moments acting as a Mama Mermaid?
On the second session of the first tribe I coached, we played the Screaming Fears game, where the girls had to get up and run if they agreed with the statement. When I turned it over to the girls, one of them decided to shout "I love Mini Mermaids!" Everyone, including the teachers who were supporting us, got up and ran!
I remember being blown away after my first final parkrun challenge when I was going to the cafe and bumped into 2 of my Minis. They spontaneously stopped and did the Flow for me as a thank-you, and I was incredibly touched by the gesture.
I am overcome with pride every time I see the faster members of one of my tribes go back for the walkers at a parkrun final challenge.
And then there's the quiet girl who took weeks to open up who suddenly slipped a hand into mine on the final challenge and told me she wants to be a Mini Mermaid teacher when she grows up so she can help people and have fun.
3. Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?
Volunteering helps connect you to other people and feel like you have some use and worth. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and it makes all the difference to get out and be part of something bigger. With Mini Mermaids we're helping kids to address difficult feelings and find positive ways to work with them, and that's an essential, life changing skill.
4. If you could take one lesson from Mini Mermaids back to your 10 year old self, what would it be?
Just get outside, get active and have fun. Don't worry what anyone else thinks. You really are enough.
5. When you're not volunteering, we'll find you....
At a steady and well behaved office job waiting for parkrun day, on my bike, listening to David Bowie, talking about mental health issues, out in the woods, and when I'm not injured, usually training for a fairly long run.