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How voluntary work has helped you watch

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    I thought it would be a good idea to make a thread where people could contribute their voluntary work experience(s) and how it has helped them. Perhaps it might inspire others to consider voluntary work.

    My volunteering started when I did the Prince's Trust in 2003. Although it is a self-development course (lasts 12 weeks), it incorporates alot of voluntary work and it was through this course, that I was inspired to volunteer. The course itself changed my life, it gave me confidence, motivation and ambition; at a time in my life when I was at my lowest ebb.

    When I finished the course, I volunteered full time in a British Heart Foundation charity shop. Whilst volunteering there, I gained an accredited volunteers certificate (NOCN), a community volunteering certificate (ASDAN) and a 100 hours certificate (I can assure you I did more hours than that!) from the Council for Voluntary Service. (CVS).

    The retail experience I gained also proved invaluable in helping me to secure paid part-time employment whilst at college and university. Voluntary work is something I have discussed in practically every job interview that I've had and employers are always interested to know more. Moreover, you can give examples from your voluntary work, of times when you did X, Y and Z.

    Through College, I volunteered on ad hoc projects with Merseyside Police, I got about 4 or 5 certificates for my Record of Achievement from that. I also volunteered on ad hoc projects with RISE which is a charity set up by former Prince's Trust team members. Through that, I secured my 200 hours Millenium Volunteers certificate and I was nominated for Young Volunteer of the Year at my towns Annual voluntary awards ceremony.

    During University, I represented my Uni at the National Student Volunteering Conference in 2006, I was a high school mentor for a year 11 pupil and I volunteered one day a week on the Medical Assessment Unit at a local hospital. I got certified by my university for this and it gave me experience in different areas.

    I also worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for a summer and again, I used my voluntary work experiences to help clinch the job interview.

    I graduated from university in July and although I no longer volunteer on a regular basis (I'm working full time now), I've been asked to become an ambassador for the Prince's Trust as a result of a newspaper article featuring me, and the impact that the Trust had on my life. As a result of that, I've managed to secure a two week work experience placement at a big city Law Firm (legal work experience is invaluable and not that easy to come by!), and I've wrote an article for the Metro Newspaper which should be published next week.

    These are two absolutely amazing opportunities which could potentially open more doors for me but I would never have had them, if it wasn't for my voluntary work. It has had an impact on my life in a big big way. I would be lieing if I said my main motivation wasn't to progress in my career/to build up my CV but at the end of the day, the organisations that I volunteer for still benefit.

    So if you want to push open doors for yourself, my advice would be to volunteer!
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    I started volunteering under the MV scheme and clocked up my 200hrs without any problem. I also got to meet the county mayor and an article ran in the local paper which was cool. On a personal level, I ended up getting paid work directly through my volunteering. The organisation I was with really liked me and I still work for the same woman that signed off my hours now. It also enhanced my CV and because parts of the work was related to the course I was then studying I also got credits for it and best of all it put me miles ahead of my classmates because I had RL experience of doing the job. I got to understand the value of networking and how valuable it is when you work or aspire to work in the creative industry but this goes for most industries also.

    I have also worked as an intern and although that is kinda self-serving I was still volunteering my time for free. I have worked for really high profile organisations in the process and they are all happy to provide a reference as required. They also offer jobs to you before it goes in the Guardian which rocks. Once again, you get to know the players in the industry and they get to know your face and that is priceless. I also like having the coolest email addresses from my intern days that I can still access!
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    Hey guys, well I did volunteering at my school and I think that a great way to get into it, there are loads of different organizations doing that like VSU etc.

    Slightly differently, I took a gap year and I did do a volunteering business placement in China for 3 months, where I went and helped a company called thinksmart. It was one of the best things I have done, because its helped me so much since. I feel I just know so much more about the world, and all the cool awesome stories I bring back from China, just helps make you a more interesting person. Not to mention how good it looks on my CV!! Projects Abroad (the company) got me an awesome placement and the people there were wicked, and it felt great helping out this company while getting some really good work experience for myself. I am at Bath University now, and I feel ahead of the rest because of my 3 month trip, so thats basically how voluntary work has helped me! China was really my main voluntary thing so if you want to chat to me about all the cool stories I be happy to enlighten you
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    (Original post by RichardGood)
    was really my main voluntary thing so if you want to chat to me about all the cool stories I be happy to enlighten you
    Sure! sounds interesting...how did you get involved with that?
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    Yeah it was! Erm well I came across the company projects abroad via the internet and also from word of mouth. My mate recommended them because he had a done a voluntary placement. My main aim was to make my gap year productive as possible. They do loads of other ones as well in Thailand helping turtles etc which while appealing, I wanted to get some proper work experience under my belt and see what it was like in a country so diverse such as China.

    Yeah if you want to check them out just type Projects Abroad in google. I paid i think £2000 for 3 months in China and for that I got an awesome placement, insurance, accom, food, n an allowance, in country support, and also the social aspect (there were roughly 30 other people doing placements with this company and we all meet up and got to know each other really well!), and they paid for socials and going out once a month. I had to pay for flights (350 return, do it in advance) and money I spent there.

    Ever been anywhere as crazy as China? It may seem a bit weird paying to be a volunteer, but I could not of coped by myself in China and I definitely would not of had the best 3 months of my life there... besides you do get loads of stuff for that 3 months.

    I did a similar thing with a group called World Challenge, but they really really expensive. I paid £3000+ for a month in Zambia, where we traveled gorges and saw the sights and helped out in a village.

    But yeah I like traveling and helping out, while helping myself in the process... something you interested in?
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    (Original post by RichardGood)
    But yeah I like traveling and helping out, while helping myself in the process... something you interested in?
    It's something I'm definitely interested in as I love travelling to new places and I've done lots of voluntary work in the past but I can't really afford it at the minute. I would be quite happy to pay them prices though, even to volunteer, as like you say, it's an amazing experience.

    I lived in America for 3 months and worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and they were the best 3 months of my life. It was quite expensive though and the only way I was able to afford it was because I got compensation for an injury I had.

    I also did a Tall Ships Youth Trust voyage and sailed between 2 ports in Norway for a week which was a great experience. I think that cost me approximately £1000 all together including the voyage fee, flights and equipment I had to buy. I used part of my student loan for that, and the rest was money that I saved.
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    ooo voyage trip sounds good! yeah well its all about saving up for these things, but i know people who went to china and got offered jobs there! But hey if your thinking about travelling to Africa or China let me know and I give you some good tips!

    If your thinking of it again, I think projects abroad are pretty awesome, so if you did want to do a trip in the future I would recommend them considering the people I have been with in the past and heard of. So you say Tall Ships Youth Trust is also good? I not that big a fan of sailing mind...
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    (Original post by RichardGood)
    ooo voyage trip sounds good! yeah well its all about saving up for these things, but i know people who went to china and got offered jobs there! But hey if your thinking about travelling to Africa or China let me know and I give you some good tips!

    If your thinking of it again, I think projects abroad are pretty awesome, so if you did want to do a trip in the future I would recommend them considering the people I have been with in the past and heard of. So you say Tall Ships Youth Trust is also good? I not that big a fan of sailing mind...
    It was a good experience, sailing at sea was something I had never done before and I had the opportunity to conquer my fear of heights by climbing the top mast of the ship. (You can read more at: http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/art...in_page_id=194)

    I also got to see a bit of Norway which was a country I had never been to before and made some friends too. The official website if you want to learn more is http://www.tallships.org
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    2001/02, I got my hands (and mind) dirty with http://www.bpec.org/
    2002/06, I learnt how to dance with http://www.cambridgedancers.org/ and was on their committee for ages.
    2003 I took part in one of the 12 week courses with the Prince's Trust - http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/ for which it made the 3 years at uni seem like a walk in the park.
    2004/06, I was a branch organiser for http://www.pcs.org.uk/ - and still a member.
    2008, I'm on our branch committee of http://www.fda.org.uk/

    At the Fast Stream Assessment Centre, my interviewer was more interested in my work for the PCS and for the dancing society. One really tough work-based question, and absolutely zilch on academia.

    Second-highest scoring exercise of the assessment centre. So...you could say that it was because of the voluntary work that I got onto the civil service fast stream.
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    I live in Malaysia, and there, there are a lot of people around you who need your constant attention and help. Firstly I volunteered to teach the refugee kids from Afghanistan for past six months. The refugee children have no access to any form of education in Malaysia therefore; several Christianity organisations and community centres introduced part-time schooling system for these kids. (However, their education is not recognized) All the teachers are volunteers. It was a very valuable experience where I got to see how these children still kept their hopes high despite of their downturns.

    I also worked for the NGO which works for human rights in Malaysia and also overseas. They are the one of oldest NGO functioning in Malaysia. They also work for refugee rights as well, holding campaigns and etc. They are deeply involved politically and they gain support from lawyers and etc. Their main act is to fight against ISA in Malaysia - which gives the government the right to retain anyone in jail without any court trial. Malaysia is, I would say, one corrupted country and this kind of organisations become the voice of the people. As a foreigner, I learnt a lot about the political state of Malaysia.

    This one was not at all planned... I just went there for fun but I instantly fell in love with the kids there so I had to stay until they graduated. I went to help out the hearing impaired children at YMCA. They are really adorable children. Although they are deaf, they are clever like any other children. I got a chance to talk to the parents of these hearing impaired children about how they were adapting to the fact that their children turned out to be disabled and etc..

    I've started these voluntary works right after I graduated my secondary school. At that time, I had absolutely no idea what do in my future. Now, after going through these experiences, I have come to a decision to become an international lawyer, helping out those in need world-wide.
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    I trained as a ChildLine counsellor about a year ago and it has really changed how I see the world. It is weird to think that simply by listening to children's problem =s we can make a change to their lives, but we can! We give very little direct advice, and yet the children are generally able to come to their own solutions. I have spoken to so many different people with a wide range of problem ranging from the almost trivial to the extreme, but every single one has touched me in a way (even the prank callers, at least they make me laugh!)

    From my voluntary work I have been shown the strength that people have to overcome some of the worst things imaginable, I have much more faith in the world than I did before.
 
 
 
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