Young Citizen: Ilford student spends summer break offering sympathetic ear to people feeling low
PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 January 2020
A young woman who spent her summer off from university volunteering to connect with lonely and bereaved people is this week's Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen Award nominee.
Instead of relaxing on her time off from university and hanging with her friends, Rosie Cassidy, 21, of Ilford, decided to give back to the community and volunteered for OrangeLine, a confidential helpline for Saint Francis Hospice.
Orangeline allows people to call in for help to make a new connection, start a new friendship or offer a sympathetic ear if they're feeling low.
Though some of the calls were tough Rosie said often people were happy to just have someone to chat with and take their mind off their troubles.
She said: "It was rewarding to form connections with people who had much more life experience than me, and I found that often they didn't want to talk about their loss or their illness, they just wanted a chat about books or music or something along those lines so it was nice to feel as though I was brightening their day a little."
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Rosie, who is in her final year of undergraduate study of psychology, said the experience allowed her to recognise her own privilege and to not take anything for granted.
She is also a crisis volunteer with the charity Shout, a new text service for people feeling suicidal or facing a mental health crisis launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this year.
After graduation Rosie wants to become a clinical psychologist so she can continue to help people when they're at their lowest.
The Young Citizen series celebrates the young people of Redbridge. Each month a winner is chosen from the nominees, the finalists will be invited to the Mayor's Community Awards night in March and the overall winner will be announced.
The winner will receive £100 from Redbridge Rotary Club and will, along with the runner-up, go through to the national Young Citizen final run by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.