Volunteering In Your Local Community
You may hear the term ‘volunteer’ thrown around a lot by adults and not know exactly what one is. A volunteer is a person who works for an organisation without being paid. Many people around the world are volunteers and help their community in various different ways, whether by helping out at a local youth club or taking part in a nature conservation group; whatever the activity, they all get involved in something that benefits others.
It’s easier than you think to become a volunteer and there will probably be lots of organisations in your area that you can get involved with. It’s very important though to know whether or not a volunteering placement is suitable for you. You may have to be a certain age to do a certain task so be careful and make sure you are very informed about all the details of the role before you start.
So you may be reading this thinking, “What kind of tasks could I do as a volunteer?”. There are lots of things you could do to make a difference in your community – check out a few ideas below:
- Plant flowers or trees in your local community
- Help clean up schools, youth centres or other buildings in your community
- Serve food at a homeless shelter (be careful with this one as you will need to check whether you’re old enough to work in a kitchen)
- Help at local wildlife conservation groups
- Help at charity fundraisers or local sporting events
Not only is volunteering a great way to help others and improve your local community, but it is also a brilliant opportunity to meet new people and develop new skills!
How to find information on being a volunteer:
- Ask in school – your teachers or careers advisor will probably be able to give you some information on volunteering
- In the library – lots of libraries have posters and leaflets from local organisations, a lot of which take on volunteers
- Youth clubs – if you attend any youth clubs there may be some posters or other information about volunteering and organisations you can volunteer for in your area
- Websites such as Volunteering England and the Volunteer Placements section on the Gov UK website.
Key to our success as a fostering agency is helping our carers to train, improve and keep making progress. This is a core effort we make: consistent, sustained improvement in standards makes for better care for foster children everywhere.
Suffice to say, we’re firm believers that everyone should always keep learning. Here are some ideas about how to keep the upward trajectory:
Keep Detailed Records
Throughout any foster placement, as a carer you should keep consistent, detailed records. These include any accidents or incidents, and how you responded to and handled the situation. As your social worker reviews these documents, they’ll be able to provide guidance and detailed feedback on your performance. This way, you can learn what you most need to work at – always in a supportive environment.
The Importance of a Mentor
We always allocate mentors to our foster carers in their first year of approval – this is crucial as we never want the people who work with us to feel alone and helpless! A mentor can be a tremendously valuable source of information. Sharing whatever is on your mind with them pays back multiple benefits.
They’ll be able to provide you with plenty of fostering experience and wisdom: whatever the situation may be, outside perspective always helps. We’re happy to say that great friendships have blossomed out of these mentoring relationships. We’ve also mentioned fostering community events in a previous post: these are a great way to meet people who also care for children.
Partner Proactively With Us
If you foster with Perpetual, we encourage you to work proactively with us. Thanks to our rigorous assessment process, our experienced, highly-qualified staff have already been impressed by your ability to do the job exceptionally well – so well done! Given their many years of experience, they are best placed to help you identify your strengths and aid you in improving as a carer.
To this end, we hold an annual training matrix for skill improvement: it’s always on a Saturday, so our carers don’t need to interrupt their busy working week! This goes alongside the personal development plans that all our carers put together – it sets out how they will improve in their role as the year progresses.
When you are young, you are often asked the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up? A superhero? An astronaut? A pop star?”.
These were some of my ideas at one point or another. You may be thinking something similar or you may not know what you want to do or be.
As you get older, you get asked a lot of questions about careers but this is nothing to be worried about; it can actually be quite interesting to explore different career paths.
I have learnt that there are thousands of jobs you can do when you’re an adult, some which may not have even been invented yet which is very exciting. No matter what you’re interested in or what you enjoy, whether it is science, art, music, maths or sports, there will be some kind of career for you.
All of this might sound a little overwhelming. You may be sat reading this thinking, “I have no idea what I want to be” or “I don’t know what I’m good at” but this is nothing to worry about. Lots of people don’t know what job they want to do and it is completely normal to change your mind if you have any particular ideas about what you want to be. The most important thing is that you work hard at school so that you have access to career opportunities in the future.