I was fifteen and I had just finished my GCSE’s so I was blessed with an extra-long summer holiday. Initially, I was excited about making the most of the sun in its amiable mood. However, after a week, I found that having nothing that would take up most of my day was rather tedious. As a result, I decided that I’d throw myself into volunteering.
The first thing I did was edit my feeble excuse of a CV (which at the point, merely contained my name, email and hobbies.) I then went to my previous primary school and asked if I could volunteer. I was given the role to help the children learn through play. This meant that for three weeks I built tall towers out of lego, sang nursery rhymes that I had long forgotten and listened to the children read one by one.
Unfortunately, the end of their term marked the end of my volunteering. However, I quickly moved on to Wembley Library. I had various roles including: encouraging people to join the summer reading challenge; data entry and helping out with activities. Admittedly, it could get really hectic but there was never a dull moment.
Most recently, I’ve volunteered at a food bank called Sufra. I helped out preparing food parcels for people though there are a variety of other roles. For instance, there are volunteers who help cooking for the soup kitchen and some who help regarding supermarket collections.
Why would a young person willingly volunteer? After all, it is leaving home – where wifi and food is – and actually putting in effort. The first reason is probably the one which most adults and companies will tell you. These days, just having the right qualifications isn’t enough – employers need proof that you can thrive in a work environment which volunteering helps to show.
Furthermore, volunteering need not be mundane and strenuous. With volunteering in some places, you get the opportunity to: push yourself out of your comfort zone and make friends and talk to people. For instance, at Wembley Library and Sufra I found myself engaged in so many interesting conversations with people I would not have conversed with otherwise. In addition to this, volunteering is a great distraction from all the ailments and problems of everyday life as your mind is engaged doing something productive – other than bingeing on TV shows on your laptop.
If you are considering volunteering, there is a plethora of choices. Why not try Sufra? They do speed volunteer courses occasionally. This requires no commitment on a weekly basis – you just turn up and help for the day. Also, it is worthwhile talking to people you know or going to your old primary school. Furthermore, Brent Libraries take on volunteers so try talking to a member of staff. Another option, is going to a charity shop such as Oxfam.
Overall, if you are about to reach your summer holiday, perhaps consider volunteering.
You can find out more information on volunteering on the Gov.uk website.