Vivian's Blog, 16 September 2016 - It's my VOYPIC 14th birthday today: A quote for every year

Thursday, 15 September 2016 13:55

“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day” said Pooh.

In true Vivian style I want to tell my story over the last 14 years using 14 inspirational quotes, quotes which have helped me think through the challenges. On 16 September 2002, I walked into the VOYPIC office so proud of my new job. I believed that “A clear vision, backed by definite plans gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” (Brian Tracy)

I was greeted by the two staff, both named Karen. Within a few weeks we were joined by Mairead and Alicia, then there were five. The challenge was to build a space and place for children in care by turning up the volume of their voice. By February, Jenny and Caroline joined the team. Our mantra was “The person who said it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person who is doing it” (Chinese proverb). We supported, encouraged and mentored each other knowing that “Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” (George Addair) Together we were strong.

As we grew in number, we reached out to all those carers and supporters wrapped around children in care, safe in the knowledge that “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone in the waters to create many ripples.” (Mother Theresa)

VOYPIC has grown from two to five to seven to 14 to 30 to 37 staff. Each year we welcome 75 new volunteers into the world of care. Multiply that by 10 years and our family has grown incredibly. If each person who has either worked for, with or on behalf of children in care talks positively to five other friends about how incredible children in care are, imagine the size of the supporters club we have created. Again, together we turned up the volume, expanded rapidly knowing that“It always seems impossible until it's done.” (Nelson Mandela)

When I look at the care system, I wonder if we are missing a trick. I have experience of growing an organisation organically, building new initiatives onto the current structures. Building, adding, manoeuvring. Thinking about my childhood hero, Marie Curie “I was taught the way of progress is neither swift nor easy." Sometimes you need to stop and think. As Warren Buffet says “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks."

To visualise the best action for the future I have learnt that we need to “Move out of your comfort zone, you cannot grow if you’re not willing to feel awkward when trying something.” In spending so much time with care experienced children over the last 14 years and my previous 15 years as a social worker, I have learnt that “When you listen, it’s amazing what you can learn. When you act on what you’ve learned, it’s amazing what you can change." (Audrey McLaughlin)

Working in VOYPIC is an incredible privilege. Believe it or not you may spend more time with your work colleagues than your partner! “To thrive and survive in life and work you need three bones, a wish bone, a back bone and a funny bone.” (Reba McEntire)

So going forward, what helpful hints have I sought to guide me? A starter for three is:

“Happiness is not ready made, it comes from your actions”(Dala Lama)
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”(Ralph Waldo Emerson), and finally

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” (A.A. Milne)

Remember how you listened to music when you were a teenager? Let’s turn up the volume and change the story for children in care.