Posted: 06 June 2017

Q&A with a student volunteer

This Volunteers' Week, we asked Asrar Abdo - one of our student volunteers - why she chose to work with us and how the experience has helped her MA studies in Youth & Community at University College Birmingham.  

Q1. Why did you choose to volunteer with us?

'I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives. I have always wanted to be able to make an impact in the community and maybe make a change in society one day.

'The children’s Society enabled me to support vulnerable young people and let me work on different projects; including the My place project, B:Well project (*both now closed), and Pause.'

Q2. What does your volunteer role involve?

'Currently I’m a volunteer on a student placement at the new mental health project called Pause.

'My role involves working with young people and families on a one to one basis. I also get the opportunity to run workshops and sessions with colleagues, which is a great way for me to develop as a future practitioner.

'Working at Pause with a great team has enabled me to gain a lot of confidence in working with families and young people.'

Q3. What have you learned about the issues facing vulnerable children and young people in our country and how does this benefit you as you progress in your studies?

'I have learned that we still have a significant gap in youth services for young people, especially in hard to reach areas.

'Young people face many issues in today’s society and not much is being done about it, which makes the young people feel more isolated.

'This makes me want to do my best and work with as many young people as possible. I want to be a voice for the unheard.'

Q4. How has volunteering helped you with your studies? Have you gained new skills?

'I have gained many skills and I’m forever grateful to the staff, especially the Pause team, for helping me to develop both personally and professionally.

'Dave - my supervisor - is always providing me with new opportunities and ensuring I get the most out of my placement.

'I have gained confidence, and am able to build relationships with people, work as a team and not be afraid to share my thoughts.

'They have taught me that we can learn from each other - regardless of our work background, experiences or level of knowledge.'

Q5. Has volunteering helped you in looking at your future career route and interests?

'I’m more certain about working with young people in the youth work field, counselling or mentoring.

'I want to be a practitioner that young people can rely on and feel safe, and comfortable around.'

Q6. What would you say to other students who are interested in volunteering with us?

'If you are interested in working with young people and believe in change, then you should do it.

'You will get to put theory into practice and work with a range of people and professionals, which will help you develop both personally and professionally.'

Q7. What would be your 3 top tips to new student volunteers to make the most out of their experience?

1) Always seek new opportunities

2) Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, because there will always be someone who is willing to put it forward and make it happen

3) Step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself. This will enable you to discover your skills and capabilities.

Get involved

Without dedicated volunteers like Asrar we could not have anywhere near the impact that we do to the lives of this country’s most disadvantaged children and young people.

If you would like to give your time, energy and skills to support our work as a volunteer, then take a look at the different opportunities available. 

get involved 



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