Posted: 03 June 2013

'I’ve never had a more well-structured, clear and productive volunteer experience'

Since January, Matt Keltzing has volunteered one day a week with our volunteering team at our headquarters in London.

'Passionate about child rights and the well-being of children'

I had been living in the Middle East for the past five years and became passionate about child rights and the well-being of children and young people while there.

When I was looking for an organisation to volunteer with in London, I was immediately impressed with The Children’s Society’s approach to working with and for vulnerable groups in the UK, as showcased in its Good Childhood Report.

I was looking for a voluntary opportunity with an organisation that not only provides crucial services but also engages young people in active and meaningful ways, as well.

Working in a team

Each day that I volunteer  is a little bit different! I arrive at the office mid-morning and am greeted with the smiling faces of my team members, who never miss a chance to make me feel welcome. Generally, there’s a bit of continuity from the last week and a bit of something new.

Often we will have meetings to discuss what’s on the table and how best to proceed, which I’m able to contribute to frequently. Projects that I’ve done for the team always feel like a significant contribution. I always take some time for lunch outside if it’s nice, and if not, I bother the other team members while they try to work or eat! I’m usually out of the office by 5pm, ready for a leisurely walk to nearby Angel.

Working as part of the team is definitely the most enjoyable part of my role. It’s great to be able to contribute in meetings and work together on projects. It always feels good to have done something from scratch that has my own stamp on it that directly helps another team member in what they’re working on.

My favourite project

My favourite project so far has been working on a plan to engage young people in volunteering with our Senior Management Team during volunteers week. Since youth engagement is what I love and believe in, this has definitely been the highlight.

At our first one-to-one review meeting, my manager and I agreed I would focus my time on more youth engagement specific projects. Since I have experience in this and would like to get more involved in it, this shift will help my volunteering role to lead in the direction that first motivated me to volunteer with The Children’s Society. I’m looking forward to this new phase of my involvement!

Learning through volunteering

Nearly everything I know about The Children’s Society, I’ve learned through volunteering. Since I’m not from the UK and have been living in the Middle East, my knowledge of this type of work came from a very different context. I know a lot of international organisations but The Children’s Society was new to me. Every week I volunteer I find out a little bit more about their mandate and methods, and there’s usually some new thing to be impressed with.

I’ve volunteered with many organisations, from small local ones to large international ones, from San Francisco to Jerusalem, and I’ve never had a more well-structured, clear, and productive volunteer experience. Whether you’re looking for a volunteer role to help you gain experience or simply because you share a passion with The Children’s Society’s areas of work, I’m sure that your needs will be met and respected volunteering here—and you’ll get no end of thank yous!

If you’re thinking of volunteering, first decide what you’re really passionate about or why you want to volunteer, and then look for a role that suits that. And just have fun with it.

By Matt Keltzing - Guest bloggers

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