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At All We Can we are privileged to journey with hundreds of people who give their time in one way or another to make a difference to people living in some of the world’s poorest communities. We are passionate about seeing every person’s potential fulfilled. In part two of our Student Volunteering Week blog series, All We Can’s Donations Administrator, Jenna Taylor, shares how she found meaningful volunteering opportunities that helped her fulfil her potential alongside studying and working.
I think my passion for volunteering has actually grown from being a student. Education can be a double-edged sword – gaining a better understanding of the world is important and can feel liberating, but this comes hand in hand with increasing knowledge of the injustices of the world. It can be exceptionally frustrating as a student to be learning and recognising the global injustices that you might not have been exposed to in school, and feeling that at this point you don’t have the power, or the finances, to do anything about it. I’ve often felt really exhausted watching an issue that I feel passionately about being neglected by people in positions of power who don’t put it on their agenda. I’ve found that volunteering is the best way to channel this kind of frustration and turn it instead into action – it is a chance to be empowered by your concerns rather than disheartened by the problems we and other people face in the world today. I’m a big believer in people being the change, and students possess the knowledge and energy to make a real, lasting impact.
For any student looking to fit volunteering into their schedule a very easy starting point would be through your university itself. Universities (in my experience) are super encouraging of students looking to volunteer, and often advertise opportunities on their Student Union website or even through their Careers Service. These services could help you cater your volunteering towards your ideal career path. Many university societies have volunteering incorporated into their activities. Societies may be part of a national network e.g. Student Action for Refugees and Amnesty International, or may be focused more on local, community-based issues – making it easy to find volunteering opportunities suited to you. As well as representing different causes these societies often take different approaches to change-making – from protesting to petitioning, or hosting events aiming to engage other university students to off-campus activities involving the wider community – it is ridiculously cliché but there is something for everyone in these societies.
That being said, during my studies I’ve been more involved in volunteering outside of the university context. Personally, I look for volunteering opportunities with charities that I have a real interest in, charities whose work I am passionate about. If you find that you’ve got a day, an evening or even just a couple of hours to spare each week there are always organisations that would really value your time – you could find yourself handing out donations with a foodbank or even giving admin assistance in a charity whose work is office-based. All We Can genuinely appreciate any time volunteers have to give and love having them bring their passion and energy into the office whenever it fits into their schedules. Charities are particularly understanding of other commitments that volunteers might have, which for students balancing studying and part-time jobs is an absolute blessing.
What could you do to help see every person’s potential fulfilled? Find out more