Part of my professional futures last term I spoke about getting a job working at Challengers, a play scheme for disabled children.
It's been 8 months of me working there now and I honestly loved it so much, but recently I had a set back in my health. I hurt my back and since then I have had a bit of trouble with my walking. This was proving difficult at work because I had to be on my feet all day and it got to the point where my legs were getting very shaky and I was in a lot of pain.
I made the decision to leave Challengers effective immediately as it was just causing too much pain.
I was very sad to have to do it because I love working there, I've grown a good relationship with the staff and my boss and the children I have worked with are amazing and I am so sad to be saying goodbye.
The staff were very good about me leaving and totally understood my reasons. I agreed that my last shift would be 1st May. I went to work and the first thing my boss said to me was "I heard the news, I am not sad I'm just disappointed" THE WORST thing anyone can say. I said that I was sorry but that I had no choice. In a way it made me kind of happy she didn't want me to leave because it meant I wasn't doing a bad job. I got really emotional when she said it and started to cry and then she started to cry and it was just all emotional.
I had my last day and it was the best day in a while which kind of didn't help. If I had an awful day I might have been a bit happy to be leaving but no it was great. I worked with a little boy called Joseph that I have worked with a few times before. He cannot speak and uses Makaton which is a childs version of sign language which I learnt while working there. He always says he's hungry and then I have to keep saying 'later' and signing that to him. He also always asks for his brother and I have to tell him "brothers at home" using sign. He loves when you call him a monkey and sign that to him and he copies you. He LOVES playing with footballs. His favourite is when you throw the ball high in the air and then let him try. Although when were outside he tries to get it on the roof which we have to keep saying no to. He's always such a happy little boy and literally if you struggle to think of things to do with him, just sit down with him and tickle him and he wont stop giggling. If you let him sit for a bit and be quiet he just likes watching people. He just likes laughing a lot so if he's staring into space i'll slowly go in front of his face and pull a funny face at him and he finds it hilarious. It really makes me happy to see him happy.
The second part of the day was different than usual, we normally swap and work with a different child but because we were over staffed that day I was on hall which means that I don't work with a child I just roam around and play with everyone. I have to make sure that each child has been to the toilet after lunch too and if their one to one needs any help I'm there to support them. It was so nice because I got to really hang out with all of the children and see the different things they enjoyed doing and I also got to chat to staff a bit more than usual which was nice. I met a girl called Tabitha in a wheelchair, she cannot communicate at all apart from saying "HIYA" and "yeah" but you can tell when she's liking something because she squeals and jiggles around in her wheelchair. I went into the sensory room where there is always music playing and she was with two girls working with her and I went to go and hang out with them and she grabbed hold of my hand and I had a dance with her making her arms move to the music so that she could join in as much as possible. She loved it and then Justin Bieber came on and oh my goodness I have never heard a child squeal so much our of excitement, it was amazing. So the three of us (Staff) sang loudly to Baby and danced with her and she loved it. It was amazing. The best thing is when the parents come in to pick up their children and they come into the room while were doing stuff like that and they see how happy their children are. It can be very hard for parents to trust others with their children, even more so when their child is vulnerable like the children are at Challengers.
I hadn't mentioned to my other workers that I was leaving. At the end of the day our boss always does a quiz about the day to end on a fun good note. One of the questions was 'Who's last day is it today?' and one girl said 'Becky?' and when Lou (boss) said, 'correct' everyone kind of gasped and went "WAIT WHAT?" and I just burst into tears. I was so so sad. I really didn't want to leave, its been the hardest thing to do and I am beyond gutted that this set back happened.
I saw my other boss Ash at the pub the other day and we spoke and she was sad that I was leaving too but she wished be the best and hoped that everything went well for me in life.
I will miss Challengers. The staff, the kids, everything. It's been the most rewarding experience and I hope to see them all again soon.