Volunteers’ week is an annual event which takes place at the start of June. It celebrates the contribution of millions of volunteers throughout the UK. It is run by the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations). It was during this week that Team Lighthouse City Year volunteer mentors at St Francis’ Catholic Primary School decided to celebrate the volunteering efforts within the school.
The first step we took during Volunteers’ Week was to create awareness for the concept of volunteering. We noticed that many of the children didn’t understand the word ‘volunteering’. It was indeed a very difficult word to explain due to its multiple meanings. However, as volunteers ourselves, me and the other City Year volunteer mentors were well equipped to rise up to that challenge and try to define it. The definition we chose was:
‘Volunteering is any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or other people.’
Armed with their new found knowledge, the pupils at St Francis’ then proceeded to create posters which promoted and celebrated volunteering as well as its benefits. They also wrote down and recollected times where they themselves had ‘volunteered’ their time by carrying out good deeds and acts of kindness. The children also volunteered their time in school; the children donned their gloves, wielded their litterpickers and carried their bin bags as they became volunteering eco warriors determined to make their community cleaner as they litter picked in the local park.
On Friday, City Year West Midlands continued to celebrate Volunteers’ Week. Each team collated their collections of good deeds/acts of kindness performed by the children in their schools to form a powerful exhibition. We transformed our good deeds into bunting to decorate the office and each team presented what they had done in school.
As a team of volunteers ourselves, the rest of the afternoon was an opportunity to celebrate the contribution each of us have made, committing a year of our lives to voluntary service. This began with a surprise tea party thrown for us by the staff. Here, we laughed and socialised, ate cake and drank some tea, very British. Our day came to a close with a photoshoot in Birmingham City Centre. Each team posed for photos as a sea of red descended on Victoria Square. Seeing all of us together united really amplified the sum of all our parts and the impact we have as young volunteer’s wanting to change our communities for the better.