To coincide with Volunteers’ Week 2011 Esté van der Walt has shared her experiences of finding a skilled volunteering position through Reach.
I first started volunteering as a university student through local community projects. After moving to London, I missed being involved in the community this way and started to enquire through friends if they knew of any projects that needed help. One friend told me about Reach and their ability to match individual skills with charities in need of volunteers.
To register with Reach was easy and quick and a member got in touch to find the best match. Reach is practical in their approach as they match organisations not only with your skill set, but also with the time you have to give, the location you wish to work in and the type of organisation you would like to join. This practical approach made it possible for me to include a volunteer role in my working week as well as keeping this in balance with my personal life.
The opportunity I received through Reach to work at Knights Youth Centre (also referred to as KYC or Knights) in Streatham, has opened other doors for me too. I have learnt more about myself, grown as a person and received the opportunity to enrol in a therapy course at Birkbeck University – all thanks to the experience I received due to volunteering at KYC. I have also had the privilege to be part of many activities at Knights, one of the highlights being a 100 mile rowing challenge on the river Wye to raise funds for projects at Knights.
Thursday evenings at Knights are called Seniors where we work with young people age 16-19. The seniors evening have been a wonderful experience and learning opportunity. My strength was in supporting fellow youth workers and the team in general. Volunteering at Knights has not only aided my own personal development, but I have also contributed towards a team with one mutual goal, namely to provide a service to young people in need of support. These include a range of activities, focused workshops on a variety of topics, employment support, sport, sexual health advice and fun cooking meals together.
I would highly recommend volunteering experience provided by Reach.