What do YOU love? Do you want to make a difference in a child’s life? Do you want to provide help for women who are overcoming a life trauma? Do you want to make Cambridge green and participate in litter picking groups around town? Me? I chose SCA.
Being able to give back to the community by volunteering as a Big Sib, a role where we act as an “adopted” older brother or sister to a disadvantaged child, was one of the best decisions I made in this last year. I reached out to Anglia Ruskin Students' Union Volunteer Centre and told them the causes I believe in and they helped narrow down my choices, finding charities that support the causes I believe in. So, they put me in touch with SCA (Student Community Action) and thus my volunteering journey began.
"Being able to make a difference in a child's life is one of the most rewarding things ever"
I began volunteering because I found a charity that supports a cause I believe in and have no regrets. SCA have been amazing to work with because they have been so accommodating, so open hearted and so willing to work with me to provide help for my Little Sib. Being able to make a difference in a child’s life, just by giving an hour of your time a week, is one of the most rewarding things ever. There’s one particular story I have in mind:
My Little Sib was so scared of going up the climbing wall when we first went to clip and climb. He was adamant he would not go past the third or fourth hold up on the wall. The second time we went to clip and climb he started going higher and higher up. He nearly got to the top but let go and that disheartened him. I sat down with him and explained:
‘B, it just takes one step at a time. And you got it. Here, let’s count how many steps you need to take.’
So we looked at the wall, counted 12 steps and he replied with:
‘What!? Only 12 steps!? I can do that!’
He got back on to the wall and I could hear him counting: ‘1,2,3….9,10.’
He tried again. And he kept trying until I heard him say:
‘9, 10, 11, 12. Giana I did it! I made it!’
And so, he did, he made it to the top of the wall.
That’s just one story of how one little piece of advice made such a huge impact on this 8-year-old’s life.
But the heart-warming stories aren’t the only thing to take away from volunteering.
"Volunteering opens doors for you that you never would have encountered if you never had stepped foot into that world"
One of subsequent benefits from giving your time to your cause is exposure. You enter a world you never normally would have come across and so your story unfolds. You find yourself in situations where you normally would not have been had you not started volunteering.
A job opportunity came up within SCA and the manager of the charity wanted ME specifically to apply for that job. What!? Me!? I honestly was so surprised that she contacted me saying I should apply for the role, when all I had been doing for a year was just giving back to the community, doing what I love.
Volunteering opens doors for you that you never would have encountered if you never had stepped foot into that world. By creating a strong social network you not only meet people who will end up endorsing you for a job role, you also meet people who want to hear YOUR story and what it is that has made you get to where you are today. By sharing your story, your passion and your experience, you inevitably show people who you are and that stays with them, branding yourself in their minds for next time a job offer comes up and they need to fill the position.
I also volunteer for Cambridge Literature Festival, Festival of Ideas and Twilight at the Museum. The same thing happened again, as soon as a job vacancy came up, I was the first person that popped into mind. All of that because I simply found a cause I love, I believe in and I poured my heart and soul into it, making the most of the experiences I had with them.
So that’s why I volunteer. What are you waiting for? Find what you love and let it drive you to places you never thought you’d go to.
If you would like to make a difference to a cause you are passionate about, whilst making yourself more employable and opening new doors for yourself, start your volunteering journey today:
1. Create your Volunteer Profile
2. Arrange to meet with a Volunteer Coordinator to discuss your options
3. Find and apply for a volunteering role here.
Are you an ARU student volunteer who has been on an inspiring volunteering journey? Get in contact with the Volunteer Centre on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help to share your story.