But in my defence, the interest was staggering. I’m flattered so many local charities would even want 7 hours of my time, and grateful they took time to engage with me that day as I know how flat-out teams in the Voluntary Sector can be.
I’ve also been juggling a sick small person, sick father, sick brother, a sore husband - ’tis the season as they say!
Anyway I managed to whittle down the entries to four key organisations who I felt I could do the most for, either because of my professional experience, my personal passions or those who I felt needed the help the most. Each would be more than deserving to win and a day with any of them would likely enrich my own life:
Faced with such a conundrum, I did ask for some help from Twitter and Facebook fans, where the Michaela Foundation was the overwhelming winner on Twitter (with 88 votes) and Autism NI came out top on Facebook.
My son was diagnosed with ASD aged 3. He has achieved amazing progress in the 4 years since, despite the additional challenges daily life throws at him. But I could not have done it without help along the way. From the Forward Steps programme at Barnardos to the iPad scheme through Helping Hands NI, and everyone in between.
I have yet, however, to engage with Autism NI. I’m not sure exactly what they do for families, if they focus more on campaigns and lobbying, or what education and training they’re involved in, if any. I am also aware that despite its prevalence as a condition, many commenters still felt more needed to be done by organisations here to inform the public about Autism.
And so for all those reasons, I am very excited to announce that I will be in contact with Autism NI to arrange a visit with them and see how they could best utilise 7 hours of my time in early 2016.
I will of course be back to blog all about my experience for you, dear readers, in 2016! I haven’t signed off for turkey just yet though, there’s still the New Year’s round-up and resolutions post to come…
P.S. I was credited by a lot of folk but must emphasise that I “borrowed” Win My Time initiative from the amazing Rachel Miller at All Things IC who ran a similar competition in exchange for Breast Cancer month pledges. I’d recommend everyone do it as part of their CSR as it opens up opportunities you wouldn’t immediately think of and your time can often mean more than your money to charities…