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Beth Crossfield, City Year West Midlands, 2013-14

Beth was one of the first volunteers to serve in the West Midlands in 2013 and ended up staying on as a member of staff for four years!

“The first year in Birmingham was made up of so many different people with different reasons for joining but the atmosphere was so friendly and welcoming from the start. The first days in school were daunting but once the students realised we were there to help, we started to make a huge difference. I got the chance to support students who may not always be the ones to get the most attention.

“Being in City Year had a big impact on my career; with me remaining for five years! The culture aspect was a big shock at first, and starting to question idealism and personal values was new to me, but is something I have carried with me ever since. It reinforced my belief that if you have the ability to do something, and you have the capacity to support somebody who needs help, then you should offer that support. I was fortunate to go on to work in recruitment of volunteer mentors for four years. I got to see them from their first walk up to the table at a careers stand, to being the keynote speaker at graduation, and saw some transformations that would not have seemed possible. Since leaving City Year I have remained committed to supporting social mobility either through direct delivery roles, or at institutions with a clear strategy to support all young people regardless of background.

“The ideal of being able to share what you know is something I think a lot of City Year volunteers feel throughout their journey, and take away with them afterwards. After you have volunteered full time, for a year, with long days, and sometimes challenging circumstances, volunteering for a few hours a week is nothing. Whilst it sounds like a supermarket advert, every little does help! The smiles, high fives and the act of physically turning up day in, day out, instills that in you. Your impact goes far beyond your year. A teammate and I were invited to the Prom of our former Year 7 students, four years later!”

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