Congratulations to Hollie Downing, our Volunteer of the Month for June!
Hollie has been nominated for her volunteering efforts at Ormiston Families, a charity in East Anglia dedicated to supporting children.
Read Hollie's account of her volunteering experiences.
Q. Which course and year are you currently studying (or have previously studied) at ARU?
Year 2 Psychology
Q. Which organisation are you volunteering with?
Q. What is your role within the organisation and what are your main duties?
Heads Up Facilitator: I volunteer at a primary school in Cambridge once a week. The heads up service is for children and young people in the East Cambridge and Fenland area who may have emerging mental health needs. We do engaging activities with the children to help them explore their feelings and emotions. We have done activities that explore the themes of friendship, self worth and emotional resilience.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your volunteering role?
The children are the best part about the role, they are so inspiring, and at times I feel like I’m learning more from them. It’s also been amazing to see the real transformation in some of the children’s wellbeing, even after a short period of time. For me, seeing the real impact in the lives of young people is invaluable and extremely rewarding.
Q. Which skills have you used and learnt during your volunteering role?
My organisational skills have definitely been tested, I have grown in my confidence to deliver well-planned sessions and I feel more independent. It is difficult to sum up what I have learnt because I genuinely feel like I have learnt so much even in a short period of time. But overall listening skills are the most important thing in this role; really taking the time to empathise with the children is a fundamental necessity.
Q. Who does this volunteering role help to benefit and how do you achieve this?
This volunteering role helps primary school aged children to build on their positive self-esteem, and learn more about looking after their mental wellbeing from a young age.
Q. What are your career aspirations and how will this volunteering role help you towards your ambition?
I am interested in working within the mental heath sector, and I am particularly interested in working with children and adolescents. Interventions that involve interactive play and creative activities seem to work well for this age group. This role has inspired me further to pursue my goals of working within this sector. It also opened my eyes to the possibility of training to become an Art, Play or Family Therapist.
Q. How has the volunteering service helped you in your volunteering journey?
I booked an appointment with the volunteer service and discussed my options with Chris and the kind of work I was interested in. Chris actually suggested the volunteer role with Ormistons, which I am greatly thankful for, as before this point I had not come across the role.
Q. Other comments
Volunteering has really enriched my University experience as the practical role really compliments the theoretical knowledge I am gaining in my course.
Congratulations Hollie, your award is very well deserved! Keep up the amazing work!