As part of Volunteers’ Week, June 1-7, we have been highlighting the amazing work of our volunteers which help us to provide our much-needed services and support.
We caught up with one of our volunteers, Ali, to find out a little more about her role and what volunteering means for her. Maybe she’ll inspire you to volunteer, too!
Hi, Ali! Where are you from?
What is your volunteer role?
For St. Augustine’s I’m an ESOL tutor, and for the Staying Well Project I’m a Befriender.
How long have you been volunteering for St. Augustine’s?
Not long! 2 months I think.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I was moved to offer my help when we all experienced hardships through lockdown. I was struggling just like everyone was and I wanted to be able to use my skills to help people. I am a trained and qualified English Foreign Language teacher so I knew that was one very tangible way I could offer my help. I worked as a Befriender prior to lockdown so I knew that was something else I could offer.
What difference has volunteering made to your life?
I really didn’t foresee the difference volunteering would make to my life. Volunteering has given me a renewed sense of self and confidence I needed by bringing together skills I have (teaching) with my interest in counselling, trauma therapy, and relationships, and with my experience of motherhood and single parenting. Some of my students are single mothers or their husbands are not here so they are effectively parenting on their own; we’ve been able to bond over that common ground.
What’s your favourite volunteering memory?
Finding things in common with ESOL students, which is a spark of joy in a teaching session where - for a moment - we leave our role of student / teacher and say ‘Wow! Me too!’ It’s a wonderful moment of connection which in turn helps the teacher / student relationship.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?
Make time for it!