This week’s Volunteering Ventures questions are answered by Gabrielle Hall. Gabrielle has been reading my blog since I was a social work student and she’s also an amazing volunteer – you’ll see why in a moment!
What is your volunteering role?
I currently have two volunteering roles; website contributor and a committee member.
Who do you volunteer for?
I volunteer for JustCrime and the United Kingdom Deaf Student Union – UKDSU.
When did you start volunteering?
I started volunteering around November/December 2015.
How did you get into volunteering?
Luckily, the opportunity for JustCrime contributor was raised by a university lecturer. I grabbed the opportunity to expand my skills and experience as a researcher.
I also decided to apply for the committee member role for UKDSU based on the great work they do for deaf students who want to attend to university.
This role is important because the committee members can use their voice for deaf students in the UK. Additionally, I found this opportunity on Facebook.
Social media is useful when seeking volunteering opportunities!
What do you like about volunteering and your volunteer role/roles?
In general, I enjoy volunteering because I like to give something back.
For example, UKDSU aims to educate hopeful deaf students about their rights and what they may face before and during university. I like that my role within UKDSU means I can help deaf students around the UK.
I can use my experience as a university student to make them more aware of what an average deaf student may go through at university.
It is essential preparation for the students.
The roles push me to be more effective with time management which is a great skill.
What are some of the challenges of volunteering/your volunteer role/roles?
There aren’t many challenges because I enjoy volunteering for both organisations.
One of the challenges is less interaction with the people involved because it is online volunteering.
The second challenge is to maintain my confidence when creating new articles. I’m not experienced with this area, but I enjoy it.
How has your volunteering help you?
I gained new skills towards research; which is one of the options I’m considering for my future career.
For example, JustCrime offers me a platform of where I can freely pick a subject or issue within criminal justice system.
Then, I create my research into an article to encourage engagement with the audience.
Why do you volunteer in the sector you volunteer in?
I volunteer to gain more skills and experience to improve my job prospects.
Describe your typical day as a volunteer.
A typical day will involve scheduling some free time after university.
For example, I have a free afternoon so I decide to head home.
When I arrive home, I typically spend a few hours on my laptop on my desk. I would brainstorm about different topics I may consider for my next article for JustCrime.
Once I select a topic, I do online research to gather relevant information.
After the research, I create an article on the topic of my choice and make sure the article encourages engagement from the audience.
Any advice for people who want to volunteer?
If you want to gain experience or want to give something back to your community, I encourage you to do it!
If you think you will face barriers based on your disability or any issue, you have the power to remove the barriers.
Speaking from experience, it is better to keep trying.
You will be greatly valued by people who care.
Also, social media is an effective tool to search for volunteering.
Finally, you can do it!