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Goodbye from Aya!

3 December 2018

Thank You from Aya

Dear members, volunteers and supporters,

My last day at Changes is coming to an end today and I would like to say a big Thank you for the last year, it’s been a privilege to captain this ship!

When I went to South America I spent good time with Native American tribes, learning from them about nature, spirituality and their view of life. We sat around fire many times, with Pipe and Tobacco – sharing stories, songs and prayers. At some point my guide took me to meet elders from deep within the forest and I thought Right, now I will learn what life really is about! And what hit me the most when we got there was their hospitality, genuine interest in being together, kindness, caring and openness. From the moment I went through the door, I was treated like their family. I was deeply moved by my discovery and had a strong desire to spread this way of being with one another in UK, where my home is.

Not long after I applied for a job with Changes and got it. To my upmost surprise I found that this way of life already exist right here, in our support groups – people come together to speak their truth – how they feel, what they are going through. They are being heard and accepted. Everybody is welcome and everybody can connect with others on a very deep level. The groups have been my family every time I was going through hard times myself. Each session brought something meaningful for me.

A big Thank you to all the facilitators without whom there would be no Changes. Thanks to them we can practice openness and trust in a safely held space. What a beautiful job and privilege to nurture and support that! Thank you to all office volunteers who help tremendously with stats, social media, marketing and admin work – you make life possible! Thank you to the trustees for being so engaged and interested in the organisation, and to the staff who became a family to me.

After almost 20 years of supporting others, I decided to take a break and be selfish for a change J I’m going travelling and am both excited and scared to find out who am I without a job and old time friends…

Thank you so much for all your support, for your welcome, for the courage to be you. Now more than ever we need to come together for mental health. And hands up for Hannah, the new Service Manager, whom I know well and trust to be a great, inspiring supporter and leader. She is a keen believer in life and work being a learning curve, has great knowledge of mental health and knows the value of peer support. You are in good hands!