Volunteering has always crossed my mind but I never got around to actually doing it with a proper organization. Before starting my Masters, I had sternly warned myself that come what may, I would devote 3-4 hours each week volunteering somewhere I was really interested in. The LSE Volunteering Centre holds a volunteering fair where different organizations come forward to explain in detail about what they do. It is a great way of meeting new people and of course you get various organizations under one roof, giving you an opportunity to see the many ways in which you can make a difference.
I went to the Keen London stall and I was amazed at the kind of work they do. Keen is an organization that holds weekly recreational sessions for children with special needs on a one to one basis. This ensures that all the children get enough time and space to indulge in physical activities. The activities vary each week but group games, basketball, football and the trampoline (which is a huge hit) are a standard feature. After leaving the stall I pretty much knew that this was where I wanted to volunteer. There are two sessions every Sunday from 11 am – 1:15 pm and 2 pm – 4:15 pm which gives me the flexibility to choose the session I want to attend.
The process of applying to be a volunteer is very simple and user friendly. You need to fill up an online form, get a reference and submit your CV. Once you receive a confirmation email from Keen, you’re ready to join them. I still remember my first session, which was on the 25th of November 2012. I was very excited and yet nervous at the prospect of handling children. My mind was so apprehensive and full of questions. What if I did something wrong or couldn’t handle the situation? Needless to say, my fears were unfounded as at no point do you ever feel alone. If you ever feel stuck or are unable to handle a child, there are the senior coaches at every step to help you out. They have been around for a long time and know each child and it’s always amazing to watch the gentle and patient manner in which they deal with the children.
The LSE volunteer center is a great place to approach if you have thought of volunteering or want to but don’t know how to. You can book appointments with them through the Career Hub or meet them in the drop-in hours on Tuesday between 4-5 pm. Even though I am only 3 sessions into volunteering, nothing makes me feel better about getting out on a Sunday morning to the school to do my bit. The activities are so much fun and when I see the happy, smiling faces of children around, it reiterates my decision to volunteer with Keen. It’s such a great experience and it also makes me responsible about arranging my essays and studies so that I don’t use them as an excuse to not go and volunteer.
For more information about the Volunteer Centre, take a look at their blog.