Leroy Ivanov – Battle Scars
“learning”, “socialising” and “compassionate” are the three words Leroy Ivanov used to describe his experience volunteering. Leroy volunteers for Battle Scars, a charity the supports people who self harm, their volunteers have all self harmed and Leroy told me this is important as “people have the tendency to be sympathetic to people like us but where we need empathy more than sympathy”. The ability to provide empathy to others going through similar struggles to himself has led Leroy to find out how caring he is and has really helped him learn more about himself.
Volunteering for Leroy is a way to help the community and get new skills at a time when his disability is preventing him from working. He is a Battle Scars ambassador, runs a peer support group and works to share information and improve people’s access to battle scars. Leroy points out how few people are aware of the help available for them until they find Battle Scars. This help extends to their volunteers who find “plain acceptance” when opening up about their self harm, there is “no shame and no hiding anything”.
Leroy shared his thoughts on the number of scams you hear about in day to day life, when it seems everyone is out to get everyone else. With this he pointed out to me how nice it is to be someone that another person knows they can trust. Being a volunteer and being able to take on that trustworthy role, even if it’s to have a 10-minute conversation with someone, can make their day, and in turn make a difference.