Jihad is a psychology student at the University of Dundee in his early twenties. He has been a volunteer Panel Member since 2018. Alongside his studies and being a Panel Member, Jihad enjoys martial arts, reading and watching Netflix.
“The main reason I chose my course is because I wanted to use my degree to make real and positive change to people who find themselves in difficult situations, which is on par with the reason I chose to join the Children’s Panel.
“I loved the idea of being able to make a difference to children and young people who don’t have the ability to change their situation alone. I think, often, people want the best for others but find it hard to get out there and make real change. The Children’s Hearings System gives volunteers an opportunity to do this.”
For Jihad, the strength of the Children's Panel lies in its focus of always putting the child or young person at the heart of the decision making process.
“The Children’s Panel is an extensively positive, non-adversarial system which allows children and young people to speak their minds and tell us their worries and concerns about their situations. Through this, we are able to make the best-informed decisions to improve their lives as much as we can and keep them safe and happy."
However, like the children and young people themselves, Jihad believes the Panel could be even stronger with increased representation.
“Having a wide-variety of individuals allows for the Children's Panel to be made up of members with different experiences, backgrounds, points of view and skillsets.”
“Often younger Panel Members will ask questions that other Panel Members may not have considered asking. For example, some Panel Members may be well-suited to questioning the practicalities of a child living in a particular place, whereas others may be suited to enquire on the child’s education or health. This allows Panel Members to effectively cover every topic important to the children's hearing and make the most well-informed decision.”
For Jihad, being a volunteer Panel Member has been a life changing experience.
“The Panel Members I’ve worked with in Dundee are honestly a group of the most genuine and caring people I’ve met, who are there solely to make a positive change to children and young people. I would strongly encourage anyone to take up the role of being a Panel Member and embrace the opportunity to benefit the lives of children and young people through prioritising the needs and viewpoints of children as a means to keeping them safe and happy.
“Being a Panel Member is without a doubt one of the most fulfilling roles anybody can have.”
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