Arif's story- From service user to volunteer


I am 50 and I have a three year old. Until I became a father parenthood meant nothing to me and I'd been focused on developing my career.

The arrival of my new baby enlightened me to join 'Dad’s life', which is a three evenings course. I thought some of the dads might be shocked at my age, but when I got there I found it wasn't a problem and there were dads there of all ages - from teenager up.

Before the first session we were all asked to bring the challenge: what is the  challenge facing you today? I'd been having a difficult time with my three year old who, after brushing her teeth, would throw her toothbrush on the bathroom floor. I didn't know how to correct it, so took it in as my challenge.  
When I went there, I was very embarrassed because there were people there with much more serious problems than mine - I heard stories of deprivation and teenagers who would stay up at night. They were in despair and I could see their tears. It made me aware of some of the serious issues that parents face, and that I had no insight into this world. I stuck with the course though, and eventuallty it did help me to solve my problem!

I then started promoting Family Lives to my friends and family, and I realised that many people from my community had very little knowledge about the organisation or family support it offers. This inspired me to help out, so I joined the London and South East region office as a volunteer. During my training, a paid role came in and I applied successfully. I'm now one of the project coordinators.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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