Student Volunteering Week takes place from Monday 20th until Sunday 26th February 2017. It is an opportunity for students across the country to get involved in their local community, to learn new skills and to participate in many rewarding and different experiences.
Student Community Action (SCA Volunteering) is putting on 24 volunteering events, including a Harry Potter children’s party, a visit to Washington Riding Centre to help with horse riding for the disabled, and even a visit to a farm. “Give it a Go” sessions will also enable students to get involved in the countless different projects SCA Volunteering has to offer, such as running drama activities for children at Thurston Drama Project and having informal chats with adults with Go Out And Live (GOALS). There will be at least one event to get involved in every day at both Durham and Queen’s campus, so there are opportunities for everyone. The week will also start with a pub quiz on Sunday 19th at Trev’s Bar and it will end with a comedy night the Sunday after!
Sherrie Talgeri, SCA Volunteering’s Vice-President, has three main aims for the week: “To get students volunteering, to raise awareness of SCA Volunteering’s diverse projects and to celebrate the fantastic work that we do in the community!” She hopes to inform students of the numerous opportunities that SCA offers throughout the year, encouraging students who are unaware or uncertain of Durham’s volunteering projects that “It’s never too late to start volunteering!”.
Similarly, SCA’s President, Neha Tarabadkar, is a firm advocate for student volunteering and highlights the enjoyment, rewards and valuable experience which can be gained through the organisation. Neha says: “Volunteering has been something I’ve been involved with in my whole time at Durham University. I started off with my old housemate by walking some beautiful dogs in the local area, as we’d gotten a bit bored of the fresher’s small-talk. Then, at the re-fresher’s fair, I picked up Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds; a project aimed those recovering from substance abuse to take part in more sport, as well as GOALs, a scheme helping to develop the social skills of young adults with learning disabilities. I remember being surprised at how much the university actually offered in terms of projects and how different they all were. Over the years, I managed to work my way up from volunteering to help direct and focus the role of SCA Volunteering – something I honestly thought I’d never have the confidence to do! I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved so deeply with SCA and be trusted with so much responsibility, as well as get to know so many people from all walks of life! I couldn’t recommend volunteering more and what better way than in our Give it a Go sessions during Student Volunteering week…”.
Here are the top ten reasons why you should participate in Student Volunteering Week, and SCA as a whole!
1) You make a difference.
Getting involved in Student Volunteering Week means you will be making an amazing positive difference to the local community. However you choose to participate, your work will be truly valued.
2) It is so much fun!
There are so many ways you can get involved with volunteering in Durham that SCA Volunteering can guarantee they offer a project which will appeal to your own interests. Whether you love animals, children, baking cakes, drama, or simply having a chat, there is a project where you can make your mark on the community and have a lot of fun at the same time.
3) You can try something new.
Student Volunteering Week is the perfect chance to try new things. This could include conservation work at Auckland Castle, making crafts at Team Durham Community Holiday Camps, or even learning how to groom ponies with Riding for the Disabled.
4) You can learn new skills.
There will be the opportunity to learn new skills at every event held during the week. In particular, at the Dementia Friends Workshop you can receive training focusing on working with individuals with Dementia.
5) It is a perfect opportunity to meet new people.
By getting involved with SCA Volunteering, you will meet so many wonderful people and develop fantastic friendships. This can be with fellow volunteers and the lovely service-users. GOALs (Go Out And Live) is a particularly sociable project where you can attend informal sessions involving activities and trips for young adults with learning difficulties.
6) It is excellent exercise.
So many of SCA Volunteering’s projects involve physical activity, and so they make you feel good mentally whilst improving your fitness. In Student Volunteering Week you can attend boxing sessions supporting a range of individuals from the probate and recovery community and from a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme. You can also take part in a community aqua session which aims to get older adults active.
7) Cake is involved!
Free Cakes for Kids is running a bake sale! If you want to get involved, you can bake cupcakes, help on the stall, or even just pick up a cake for yourself between lectures. Moreover, you can help in the Big Fairtrade Bake by weighing and packing bags of flour and sugar.
8) You can escape summative stress.
At this point in second term everyone is feeling very stressed with mounting work and looming deadlines. Student Volunteering Week is therefore a great way to relax so that you are feeling much more positive and able to tackle your degree.
9) You can gain professional experience.
Not only is it good for the soul, but volunteering also looks pretty good on your CV. Whatever career you are planning to pursue, showing genuine commitment to the community and a strong work ethic is guaranteed to help. SCA Volunteering is a brilliant way to gain experience in particular fields and to strengthen those all-important transferable skills.
10) Volunteering is really rewarding.
Nothing compares to the rewarding feeling of knowing that you have made a positive impact on the lives of others. By working at a “hands on” level with members of the community and on particular projects, you can see firsthand the impact that you are making in the world – and you deserve to feel very proud of that!