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Aliza at age 17 is an inspiration as she gains work experience for her future career goals

As part of #nationalvolunteersweek2024 National Volunteers Week 2024, Focus Surrey would like to thank the more than 420 volunteers who have supported the charity since its inception in September 2016.

One of the exceptional volunteers that the team at Focus Surrey would like to recognise for their efforts this past term was 17-year-old Aliza. Aliza who is at secondary school volunteered as a play facilitator for the first term at Focus Surrey. 


Staff were very appreciative of Aliza's support. The feedback she received on her individual certificate at the end of term graduation highlighted how she supported the club.

"A lot was asked of Aliza this term and she really stepped up to the challenge. Aliza always took the initiative to engage learners in her group and took on board training about how to collect pairing and manding (requesting) data. Aliza’s enthusiasm was really appreciated, and she was a valuable member of the team. Thank you and well done, Aliza."


Aliza supported with a large range of activities. She has provided consistency through the term and supported with tasks that helped many different elements of the club function. Starting the term providing support as a play facilitator in the groups and taking photographs of the action, Aliza has further supported as a play assistant and has successfully bonded with many different learners.


Aliza explained why she volunteered and what she enjoyed about the experience. 

"I have some social communication needs and attend Blossom House School. When I’m older I want to be a teacher for early years for special needs students and I’m trying to get as much  work experience as I can. I volunteered to help with autistic children at Focus Saturday club this last term. I began as a play facilitator but asked if I could be a play worker working directly 1 to 1 with children as well. 

During this time, I helped with running activities and also sometimes providing 1:1 play and care for children attending the club. The club day was split with younger children (under 10) in the morning and older children in the afternoon.

"I found it hard  in the beginning to be with the older children as I was used to working with younger children because it was more difficult to keep them busy.  Over time I became used to it and enjoyed providing 1:1 support to children...Staff helped me and the other volunteers if a child was struggling."

"I loved that every week the children liked doing different things.  I got to see what they were and weren't interested in. I helped to engage with them in the four different areas  -  outdoor play, the playroom, art room and music room."

"We would help them and encourage them to speak and use words. We would prompt them to say words and we would give them what they asked for. Some children needed to be calmed down and required support to help from feeling dysregulated. We kept notes and provided feedback to parents."

"Overall I learnt a lot about to how to play with and encourage Autistic children in a safe setting. I look forward to doing this again in the next term at Focus Surrey."

If you would like to volunteer with Focus Surrey from September 2024 you can find more information here:

If you would like to read more testimonials about volunteering at Focus Surrey you can read them here:


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