Posted: 17 March 2015

From our headquarters to the Houses of Parliament to a school in Lewisham

Sasha, a work experience student and member of the Children's Commission on Poverty, took some time to share her thoughts on completing her two-week work experience with a handful of teams here at our headquarters.

Hi, can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Sasha, I’m 15 and I have been doing work experience here at The Children's Society's headquarters for two weeks.

How did you come to do your work experience here?

Well, I was already in The Children’s Commission on Poverty (CCP) and I really wanted to know more about the charity and what kind of work needs to happen to make projects like the CCP happen.

Also it seemed to be a better experience than working in an estate agent office.

What have you done over the past two weeks?

On my first day I went to the new staff induction day which had presentations from people working in the charity and Chief Executive Matthew Reed, which was a great way to find out about everything the organisation does.

For the next two days I was at meetings in the House of Commons. I was at two all-party parliamentary group (APPG) meetings. The first was about the Liberal Democrats talking to young people about what they think they should include in their manifestos and policies. The second was about school meals and we did a quick presentation that was based around our work in the CCP and the school meals recommendations, and the research we found out about school meals.

Sorry to interrupt but you had your work discussed at the Houses of Commons? That sounds amazing. What was that like?

It was surprising but good to see how interested people were in what we had to say about our research and our recommendations that we had come up with as a group.

But it was even better to talk to people about it and what they think about what the evidence we had found.

Can you tell me a little more about what you’ve done these two weeks?

Yes – on Thursday I worked with the Church and Community Participation team and went to a primary school in Lewisham and we did activities like 'Tops and Pants' to find out what the kids liked and disliked about their area and school.

On Friday I worked with Research team. I made graphs and charts that matched the current data - I was helping to make a school report based on the consultations written by kids in the schools, which will later be sent to schools.

Then the second week I returned to the Church and Community Participation team working on folders that were going to be used in school group visits and typing up consultations from school visits.

On Wednesday I volunteered in one of your charity shops, which really helped me get the general experience of working in a shop and realise how merchandising is done in a charity shop compared to a normal high street shop.

Yesterday I worked with the Policy team and I did follow up calls to schools about a survey that had been sent out regarding their uniform policies. Then later I did my own research on schools uniform policies.

And today we here in the Digital team get to work with you.

Yes, it's the highlight of my week. :) I've gotten to write this blog, write some tweets and met with several people from around the organisation to talk about digital trends. It's been interesting.

Thanks, Sasha. Was there anything that surprised you about any of the meetings you went to or things that you did?

There was a lot that surprised me throughout my two weeks of working here.

For example when I went to the primary school in Lewisham, I noticed that the three year 5 classes had different priorities. When we did an activity asking what kids like to have, one thing that came in the top three was having money to save. When we asked them why that is the said 'to pay bills when I’m older' or even 'to give to my parents if they need it'. It showed that children 10 and 11 are already thinking about their and their family's future.

What has been your favourite thing to do?

Working in the primary school, because I had the chance to talk with the kids about how they feel about their school and where they live and the facilities they have and whether they actually enjoy where their area.

It also helped me realise how much I enjoyed working with kids and how much fun it is.