When I was dealing with severe mental health problems, and a family breakdown, Extern were there with a listening ear through the West Bank Youth Support programme.

They helped me to build my confidence and showed me that people do care. They also helped me trust people again, as they were always there when I needed them.

We had some wonderful experiences, like going to Kinahalla youth village in Co Down and, on my 18th birthday, to Dublin Zoo. When I graduated from the Youth Support programme I really wanted to give something back to Extern, so I decided to continue with them as a volunteer.

Red-haired girl with freckles walks in autumn forest near the lake on the bridge

"The volunteers I had met during my time on the programme were always there when I needed help, they gave me the strength to trust people again. They really do care and always have the young person’s interests at heart."

The staff and volunteers make the work they do seem easy, but it can be very challenging too. For me, the biggest challenge was going through the transition from being a young person with Extern to becoming a volunteer.

But I’ve met so many inspirational staff members and young people, and hearing about the struggles they have overcome in their own lives has made me want to work harder.

The best thing about volunteering with Extern is seeing how it has such a positive effect on young people, seeing them change in better ways and overcome their difficulties. Without a doubt, volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

Hannah, (20), Youth Support/Young Graduates Volunteer