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My Giving Story

Giving Tuesday is approaching! As we count down the days to December 1st, our volunteer mentors and staff are thinking about what it means to give within City Year UK (CYUK). Nicol from our Greater Manchester cohort is serving with Team Pride, and is based at Crumpsall Lane Primary School. Here, she shares #MyGivingStory, and what giving in school means to her…

Female CYUK volunteer mentor in red sweater uniform

My name is Nicol Quarmby, and I am proudly serving as a volunteer mentor with City Year UK.

My Giving Story began when I discovered City Year UK at a job fair in Manchester. I had never heard of them before, but I had considered teaching as an option, so I stopped for a chat. I was surprised when I heard that they go into schools in underprivileged areas and give additional support to students.

As a child, I always felt that I didn’t get the support that I needed in school. I wondered what it would have been like if I had a City Year UK mentor. Perhaps I could be that mentor for a child in a similar situation. I could give them the support that they need and help them grow in confidence.

Before I found City Year UK, I had just finished university, had recently lost my job and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

My Giving Story is not only about how I’ve been able to give back in my role as a volunteer mentor, but also about how City Year UK has given me so much and helped me become a better person.

I was placed at Crumpsall Lane Primary in Greater Manchester. I was nervous, scared and unsure of myself before I started. How can I help and support children? What if the staff and children don’t like me? However, I had nothing to worry about! The children were excited to have a mentor, and they welcomed my help and support. The staff and my Impact Officer were supportive, and gave me lots of amazing advice, tips and resources.

To me, giving is about sharing my experiences, knowledge and skills with others. By doing this, I can give them a head start in life. I hope to give them confidence, show them what is possible and what they can achieve if they want to. I believe that it is never too late, and you should always accept the opportunities that come your way.

By volunteering with City Year UK, I have developed many skills. I have learned how to speak with confidence to a group of people. I am now confident in my decisions, but at the same time, I am also confident in asking for help when I need it. I feel that I know who I am, and what I want to do with my life.

Teacher training handbook, reading workbook, and notebook on top of a CYUK red jacket

When I see the children smiling and happy, because of what they have learned and achieved from what I have taught them, that in turn makes me happy. By giving my time, I am making a difference to these children’s lives. I hope to pass on some of what I have learned to the children that I help. I want them to be confident in themselves, and in what they want to become. Most importantly, I want them to know that they can be whatever they want- and that it is achievable, regardless of where they live.

When I do my interventions, the children are excited. I have developed and adapted my interventions to match the needs of the children, while also keeping them fun and engaging. Before City Year UK, I doubted myself and my voice, but now I’m using my experiences. My voice helps the younger generations by encouraging them, and by showing them that they can achieve whatever they want to.

The best part about volunteering with City Year UK is when a child learns something that they were struggling with through my support. For example, one child was struggling with a subject in maths. I taught them a simple method that they could use and remember. The child started to get the maths questions right, and they were so happy, as they thought that they couldn’t do it. I give for these moments.

Joining City Year UK is the best decision I have ever made. Both my impact officer and school staff have allowed me to develop and improve my interventions. I am confident in what I teach the children, and that what I teach will have an impact on them. I have grown in confidence, and become a better person. And I have done things that I never thought that I could do.

Thank you Nicol for sharing your Giving Story — we’re proud of you and the progress you have made!

To learn more about Giving Tuesday, visit @GivingTuesday on Twitter, or 

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