First and foremost when describing the event – I would like to say that I was happy to be there, I had essentially invited myself aboard when I have no experience of volunteering at King’s.
East Kent schools Together, organised and brought together the likes of St. Lawrence College, Herne Bay High, a school whose logo I can’t quite recall, ourselves and of course Spires Academy – I would like to take this opportunity if anyone from Spires is reading this, to thank you repeatedly for your hospitality and hosting this event.
Now I don’t wish to waffle any longer, so I shall cut to the chase of this recollection. Volunteering is merely the professional equivalent of wanting to leave this place better than you found it. I urge you, if you read this, to help people because it is right. If you don’t do anything you just resign yourself to existing and if you intentionally cause pain, you’ll architect a world where people are continuously in pain and suffering and nobody wants to live in that kind of world. So do good because it is part of what it means to be alive and just out of love for those next to you. But if your motivations align themselves more so towards developing a ‘Personal Statement’ then by all means continue volunteering because the outcome and the good deed done is still the same – It makes no difference.
A story was told at the fair, which has always resonated with me and now illustrates my last point. It’s called: “The Starfish Story”
One day an aged man was walking down the coastline, the wind was howling and the waves were crashing. It was freezing cold and there was a storm brewing. He came across a young boy throwing what appeared to be rocks into the sea. When he got closer he saw that they were in fact, not rocks but instead starfish that the boy was throwing back into the ocean.
The old man, curious simply asked the boy, “why are you throwing the starfish back into the sea?”
The boy replied, “because the surf is up and the tide is going out,”
“But there are thousands of starfish on this beach and miles of coastline, you’ll never be able to throw them all, what difference will it make?”
The boy without making eye contact, as he threw another starfish back into the sea replied, “It made a difference to that one.”
At the volunteering fair there were some brilliant charities and volunteering opportunities to apply for. I think most notably The National Citizen Service (NCS; https://www.ncsyes.co.uk), which is a voluntary personal and social development programme for 15–17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland, funded largely by money from the UK Government. They were fabulous at the fair and offer opportunities for autumn and summer programs that work on a four phase format – which includes four days of fully-fledged adventure, life skills, the planning and production of a social action project and a graduation ceremony respectively. They can also offer if you attend the autumn four-phase program or the summer work experience to sign off on your DofE expedition and residential respectively.
Also a prominent presence at the fair was a charity known as CLIC Sargent, which can be found at – www.clicsargent.org – who offer support to children, young people and the families suffering from the effects of cancer. At the fair they described many opportunities and ideas for things members of East Kent Schools Together could do to help raise money and make a difference to someone of their own age suffering from cancer. If you’re active or even if you want to get active why not run, cycle, fly or walk for CLIC Sargent, raise some money and make a difference.
Amongst others there was a charity which seemed to get a lot of interest called Canterbury Amnesty Group. They are one of Amnesty International UK’s 280 local groups who believe in standing up for human rights across the world, “wherever justice, freedom, fairness and truth are denied”. They were a great charity to have at the fair, with their admirable tactics of burying governments in letters and their strategies for making themselves known to the media to make their voice heard. In Canterbury they meet on the second Wednesday of every month (except August) at 7:00pm at the Friends Meeting House, 6 The Friars, Canterbury, CT1 2AS. I wouldn’t mind seeing the school facilitating pupils to attend or even partnering up with them in the future.
Overall the volunteering fair at Spires Academy was a great success and there were a large number of charities and volunteering opportunities for pupils to ask questions about, learn and get involved with. I personally had a great productive evening outside of school, even if I did miss economics.
Rob, Y12, The King’s School