2016 Inspiring young people.
These volunteers regularly use their own time to raise the aspirations of young people. Without these types of volunteers our communities would not have the strength they have today.
Brad Wynn – Mentor and Organiser for Citizens Schools and supporter for Financial Education in schools
I believe that education in general, and financial literacy in particular, are keys to a successful future for students in underserved communities. I decided several years ago that the best way for me to have a meaningful impact was to get involved at the grass roots level, engaging directly with students, and then as a result to have dialogue with their teachers and school administrators as well.
Citizen Schools is an enhanced after school programming organization that is active in many large U.S. cities. That description significantly understates the work that their staff does and the impact they have on the schools that they work in. The program I have been involved with is the weekly Citizen Teacher Apprenticeships which go on each semester for about 12 weeks. The curriculum I developed with materials from the program, and which our team is constantly improving upon is basic financial literacy, including budgeting, basic economics, and concepts like leadership and entrepreneurship.
Initially, I engaged in this program on my own, but for the past several years I have had other members of the LGIMA team working on the program, and now each semester we have several people from a variety of teams involved. This brings new energy and ideas to each semester in addition to building cross-team relationships.
A colleague says “Brad is one of a kind, his passion is to ensure every child is taught the basic financial literacy to give them the greatest chance in life. It’s all about giving back something to help others.”
Steve Walden – Volunteers with the Youth of Bognor for disadvantaged children
I have been involved with this charity for around 8 years. I have always had a keen interest in the wellbeing of children and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Consequently, when an opportunity arose to become involved with this charity I was keen to take it.
Each year we take around 60 children from the local area on an activity-based holiday to the Isle of Wight. Many of the children come from difficult family backgrounds and are sponsored to attend either through the charity itself or through schools and social services.
I am a member of the leadership team. I coordinate and lead activities and act as a point of contact for the other leaders on camp.
We are always looking for support so a good way to become involved would be to sponsor a child to attend or to otherwise contribute financially towards the ongoing running costs.
Neel Shah – Volunteers with the Special Yoga Foundation for children with special needs
The charity provides yoga therapy to children with special needs.
Since joining the foundation I have been very inspired by the transformation that I have seen in the children, it is such a great way to set them up for life!
As a volunteer I assist with the technological improvements, spreadsheets, the data entry of customer forms and may other admin jobs.
Participating in the yoga classes and the training sessions offered by the centre, would help contribute financially which in turn would assist the foundation with the work that they do.
Paula Watts – Volunteers for Mentoring, Advocacy & Peer Support (MAPS)
The mentor relationship is a commitment for a year, meeting on a weekly basis to chat, listen and laugh. I work and I am supported by a supervisor having 3 monthly goal setting meetings to agree with the mentee want they would like to achieve.
I strive to help them know that they are not alone in dealing with the day-to-day challenges that they face and to give them the opportunity to experience ‘guilt free’ activities including going to the theatre, golf, pottery, bowling, swimming, cinema, Chessington and St. John Ambulance etc. but more than anything else just talking, actively listening, having fun and laughing.
Some of the time the young person can feel isolated and this can undoubtedly lead to loss of confidence and low self-esteem and not having the chance to be a child.
I have certainly learnt a lot about mentoring and myself. Identifying the skills and knowledge that the young person wants to learn and listening to their dreams and new topics are so important. It is essential to provide support on personal issues where appropriate, actively listening and sometimes playing devil’s advocate to help the mentee through important decisions and strategies. Acting as a sounding board for ideas/concerns about school/life choices and providing insights into possible opportunities is key.