Barnardo's volunteer Lee finds his true calling
Lee Maddocks from Newtownabbey, Volunteer of the Year
Lee Maddocks has won the Marsh Trust NI Regional Volunteer of the Year Award. The 29-year-old has been recognised for his role with Barnardo's Newtownabbey Family Connections service.
The service - based in Newtownabbey High School, Rathcoole PS, Whitehouse PS and Abbotts Cross PS - offers support via parenting programmes, after schools clubs and providing family and education support.
Lee said: "The Barnardo's team at Family Connections have been brilliant, they have given me opportunities and encouraged me.
"When I started initially they saw something in me that I didn't know was there and through my experience I've found that I have an aptitude for working with young people and that's definitely where I see my career going now.
"One of the best things for me was one boy who would have been on his own a lot, helping him integrate in the Games Club and then a year later seeing him walking down the school corridor in a group of friends and knowing I played a small part in that.
"It's realising that through small interactions you can leave a fingerprint on someone's life and make a positive impact and that's a real privilege."
Lee urged anyone thinking of volunteering to go for it.
"It might seem like a big commitment at first but it's not - one or two hours a week is really nothing and that domino effect won't happen if you don't do it.
"Volunteering will impact more upon you more than you can imagine."