Tommy D back from Thailand

Our Tommy D group for bereaved young people have returned from their trip to Surin in Thailand, where for two weeks they have been volunteering within the local community and helping vulnerable children. The eight teenagers, who have all suffered a close personal loss, went along with Children’s Services Manager, Julie Cole and a team of volunteers to renovate the local school, care for very young children in a day care centre and work at an Elephant Sanctuary.

“It was not a holiday, but a chance for the youngsters to help others and see how they would cope with the feeling of separation and isolation,” explains Julie. “They all worked really hard, which wasn’t easy in the heat, but no one moaned and they were really supportive of one another. It was tough for both the kids and the parents, but it also helped the young people grow, and find out who they really are,” adds Julie, who went on a similar trip with Tommy D in August 2013 to volunteer at an orphanage on Kenya.

DSCF0385A lot of the work was quite physically demanding, especially at the Elephant Sanctuary where the group dug the soil, planted crops and cut sugar cane. But there was also time to bathe the elephants in the river and teach Kuanyan, a 7 week old elephant baby to play footsie! Which could be a painful experience, he was already very strong and heavy, but extremely cute.

The group have described this experience as “life changing”, “a chance of a lifetime” and as one of them said, “this has brought out the best in me”. They are forever bonded as a group by this amazing experience, discovering a completely different way of life without the comforts of home. As one of them said, “It’s made me realise that I have a lot to be grateful for.”

The teenagers had prepared for their challenging journey for over a year and funded the entire project themselves through various events such as quizzes, car washes, cake sales and sponsored walks. If you would like to make a donation to the Tommy D group for future projects please call the Hospices Fundraising Team on 01483881752 or send an email.

For more information about our counselling services for children and young adults please click here.

You can also read the group’s blog updates and see some of their photos in our Facebook album.