Emily Jeffries – Girlguiding

Emily always had a passion for adventures and loved to challenge herself so when she was offered the chance to do The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) with Girlguiding in her Rangers unit she saw it as a great opportunity to push herself out her comfort zone and develop her skills.

In-between her Silver practice and qualifying expedition, Emily lost her mother to suicide. At the start of her qualifying expedition whilst battling with grief, being away from home and her own mental health, Emily had a panic attack and felt she could not go on. However, Emily persevered and used her DofE group for support, to help her get to the next checkpoint. Upon reflection, Emily believes that her expedition was a great outlet for her grief and the friends she gained on her expedition, have supported her through an incredibly tough time in her life.

“After my mother’s suicide, I found the gruelling physicality of my DofE expedition to be the perfect outlet for my grief and my team, were a brilliant support network. I hope others suffering from bereavement or mental health problems do their own DofE programme because it really helped me during an extremely difficult time in my life.”

For Emily’s Silver Volunteering section, she volunteered at the Douglas Macmillan Charity shop in her local town. Then for her Gold Award, volunteered at a Rainbow unit. They both taught her a wide range of skills and gave her confidence in her own ability. Since completing her Silver and Gold DofE Award, Emily has continued to Volunteer at a Rainbow unit near her University in East Anglia.

“Doing my DofE allowed me to find a purpose, and continuity in a family situation in which continuity was needed desperately. I feel so much more confident and positive because I achieved my DofE. I now go into every challenge I face with optimism; it has shown me the immense reward of commitment and patience to a challenge.”