Regina Legarte, 3rd year Undergraduate Social Anthropology, did a voluntary summer internship with Body & Soul over the summer. She shares her experiences with you in this blog. Regina has also been nominated for LSE Volunteer of the Year 2019: read her nomination here!
Volunteering with Body & Soul
Immediately after the end of my second year, I had no idea what I was going to do with my four-month-long summer. With my third and final year of undergraduate studies looming ahead, I knew this summer was going to be important in terms of figuring out where I’m going to go when I graduate, gaining experience, and building up important skills and capabilities in the workplace.
When I applied to Body & Soul for a voluntary summer internship, I knew that this was a place that I really wanted to be a part of. Because of my volunteering experience as a Peer Supporter at the LSE, I was drawn to Body & Soul’s empathetic, trauma-informed approach in supporting their members (service-users), who are disproportionately affected by adverse childhood experiences. Their approach is also holistic, looking at the whole individual and collaborating with them in order to figure out the best way to support them. This resonated with me as an Anthropology student – both Body & Soul and anthropologists strive for a grass-roots and collaborative understanding of the people they work with.
I spent three months at Body & Soul this summer, which flew by. This wasn’t just because I kept busy – I also genuinely enjoyed myself! With regards to work experience, I gained a lot of insight into the charity sector and was able to hone important skills. Most significantly, I made great strides in my leadership skills and in building my confidence, which I felt I was lacking before I started my internship at Body & Soul. I grew into the freedom I had to lead on my own projects and initiatives and was able to take my internship in the direction that I wanted in order to make the most of it. This was possible because Body & Soul also take a collaborative and caring approach with staff and volunteers – everyone is in dynamic conversation, and everyone becomes a part of this wonderful community.
It is a privilege to be able to be part of the Body & Soul community. I learned a lot about work, about myself, and about compassion. The most important thing I gained this summer is this: volunteering, especially for an organisation such as Body & Soul, can be really good experience in learning how you can put your heart, body, and soul into all the work you do.