Why I gave a Year Of Service
Today is International Youth Day, which this year is focusing on Youth Civic Engagement. With a growing number of young people signing up to become volunteers, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the young people who are involved in social action.
My inspiration for joining City Year came from the desire to see all children being given the chance for an education regardless of the background they came from. This is important to me, because I strongly disagree with the fact that some children have better access to education which allows them to have a positive start to their lives, while others are left behind. This is something we all need to work on as we live in one of the most privileged countries in the world.
Overall I am a strong believer in the power of education and the idea that learning should be accessible to all. When I first came across City Year, I felt that the value and importance of education was championed by the organisation. A foundation of City Year is based on the importance of being the change that you want to see in the world, which I found refreshing and it motivated me to be that change. There is a ‘can do’ aura that seems to have enveloped those involved in City Year and it is intoxicating!
In all honesty, volunteering for a year was tough! I would be lying if I said otherwise;
The relationships that I made with my focus list students and just students around the school were my absolute joys of volunteering this year. I was lucky enough to have students that understood why I was there for them, which made my task so much easier. There is a genuine bond that grows stronger with your students throughout the year and saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have done.
One of the biggest differences I saw throughout my year of service was with my focus list student. To put it simply, at the beginning of our year of working together, the words ‘I give up’ came too readily to him. My challenge was to show him that it was worth trying in school and I believe that I was successful in this. Overall, I think the influence you can have on these students is a general sense of positivity towards life and showing that you are going to be that one consistent figure for a whole year. That is more powerful than any words you could use.
Throughout the year, I developed a number of different skills, the most significant being my confidence. I have also developed my leadership skills; there are many occasions where you have the opportunity to be a leader, whether it is managing a new project in school or when you have simply taken the initiative to do something.
Although my friends were confused about what I was doing, by the end of my service they could see how important this had become to me. I would encourage everyone to volunteer, as this has been the most rewarding thing I have done and it has sparked the notion that;