Sian’s volunteer story

I was 16 years old when I first started volunteering. I’d love to tell you that I was inspired by my desire to help people, but at that point it certainly wasn’t the case. I’d been told by my Head of Sixth Form that universities looked very favourably on applications that were brimming with work experience and volunteering positions, and I had my sights set on one of the most competitive Journalism departments in the country.

I strolled into the church that I’d been a part of on and off since I was a child (I’d been off for a good couple of years by this point), and basically said “I need some extra-curricular stuff to show universities that I’m a well-rounded person, give me a job!” I know, I’m not proud of myself either.

For some unknown reason, they gave me a job and I started volunteering for two evenings a week at the church’s youth clubs. It pretty quickly became more than something to put on my personal statement. Volunteering gave me an escape from the drab monotony of my school-homework-eat-sleep-repeat cycle. I absolutely loved the kids that I worked with, I loved watching them grow in maturity and confidence and my colleagues and I formed a friendship which is still going strong six years later. I discovered skills that I never knew I had, from the important stuff like answering a young person’s questions about spirituality to nailing finding a solitary jelly baby in a pile of flour using only my face. Yep, this is the stuff we got up to!

When I was contacted about getting involved with Counting Hope, I think I almost bit Andy’s hand off! To me, education is one of the most powerful tools in the world and the idea of using education to empower people and making them self-sufficient was so appealing to me, rather than chucking some money at them and forgetting about it. I’m so proud to be involved with a charity right from the word go, and I can’t wait to watch it grow and reach more people both here and in Cabo Verde.

To anyone who is unsure or thinks that volunteering isn’t important, I can categorically tell you that it has provided some of the richest and most character-defining experiences in my lifetime. It’s taught me that you are more than your chosen career path, and that everyone has so many more talents and skills that they still need to unlock. You just need the right platform.

2 Responses to Sian’s volunteer story

  • Julie says:

    Brilliant. I’m pleased you chose Counting Hope.

  • Richard Green says:

    I could not say it any better.
    It is so rewarding and addictive, that you just find yourself enjoying every moment of what you are doing.
    And the feedback you get just makes you want to do more and more, So happy to have you as part of the team.

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