Benefits of Volunteering – by Suzanne Janes, Senior Volunteer and Business Coordinator
Here at The Access Project we are in the midst of Volunteers’ Week 2016 – an annual opportunity to thank and praise our hard working volunteer tutors, of which we have had over 800 across London and around 70 in the West Midlands this academic year.
Our volunteers have a huge impact on the lives of the young people they support by helping them improve their grades and gain access to selective universities. Volunteers are a major part of our organisation and we couldn’t achieve all that we do without them.
But it’s not only us and the students who benefit from the hours given by our volunteers. Did you know there are many benefits to be gained from volunteering just an hour of your time a week to help others? Read on to find out more!
Not only is volunteering a way to give something back and help someone else, which is of course rewarding in itself, but by volunteering with us, our tutors are able to take a break from the ‘norm’ and do something vastly different to their day-to-day work. In fact, many of our volunteer tutors tell us that the hour they spend working with their Access Project student is a highlight of their working week and that they often return to their desk feeling refreshed and invigorated, which in turn improves their own motivation and productivity, good news for volunteers and employers too!
The unique volunteering opportunity offered by The Access Project also allows volunteer tutors to refresh the skills and knowledge they gained while studying, which they may not get a chance to use in their day-to-day role. I, too, am a volunteer tutor and the opportunity gives me the chance to revisit my Spanish degree by working with an A Level student each week — covering areas such as writing skills and grammar, but also having conversations about current events, films and music. Without the weekly tutorials, I would struggle to pinpoint a time in my week where I used my language skills and was able to have a conversation in Spanish.
In organisations where a group of employees are volunteer tutors, even though the direct experience OF working with a student is mainly an individual one, the sense of community among a group of tutors supporting the same cause can improve teamwork, overall motivation and a sense of belonging with colleagues.
Volunteering can also be great for your health! Some reports* have shown that volunteering can increase quality of life, improve family relationships and, by focusing on your positive qualities as a volunteer, provide a self-affirming effect which leads to improved health in other areas of your life.
Through The Access Project, we offer a volunteering opportunity with tangible impact. By working with one student over a period of time, tutors are able to see the progress their students make and be a real part of their story.
All sounds pretty tempting, right?
If you would like to get involved, you can register your interest to become a tutor with us for September 2016 by submitting your name and email address here and we will be in touch with more details.
Source: tap orig