Monday, November 06, 2006


Timebank is a volunteering website which runs/promotes various volunteering and mentoring initiatives. I only did occasional volunteering work while at university, mainly because I couldn't always commit to a specific time on a weekly basis, but I spent my gap year doing youth work in a centre in Liverpool o a voluntary basis. That happened by accident - I was at a community meeting about ASBOs of all things, and addressed the officials who were speaking, getting a good reaction from the audience and many of the officials. It turned out that the guy sitting next to me was the head of Liverpool's youth projects and he offered me a job, but I had no previous experience so I asked if I could do voluntary work instead.

My time at the youth centre was excellent and the kids I worked with really seemed to appreciate the work I did there. Now that I have a slightly more regular work pattern again, I figured it was time to do some volunteering again, so I've signed up to their reading scheme for primary school children - apparently 77% of the kids they work with end up with improved literacy from the scheme and its only requires an hour of my time each week, a miniscule amount to give to have a positive effect upon someone's life chances.

I was slightly reminded to do this by a post I made on Tom Watson's website about how great my music teachers were in keeping me focussed academically, and by the fact that my high literacy skills at a young age had a clear impact upon how my life developed compared with those who grew up in the same 'hood as I did.

But I think its a worthwhile "sacrifice" to make - and I encourage anyone reading this to check out their website and consider doing the same.


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