As we celebrate International Volunteer Day on 5 December, Jami-Lei remembers how volunteering led her to where she is today.
My first experience of volunteering was for a local charity shop. I remember being excited as the responsibilities made me feel like an adult at a young age. Fast forward a few years, I began volunteering again while studying for my A-levels. We were encouraged as students to look at websites like do-it.org and volunteerleicestershire.org.uk to find volunteering experience in a field we wanted to work in. I didn’t know what I was looking for at the time, as I wanted to study psychology and there weren’t many volunteering opportunities in that field.
While browsing do-it.org, I came across an advert for a volunteer to post on social media for a local performing arts company. I remember thinking, “I could do that!” I responded to the ad and was invited for an informal interview with the organisation’s director.
To cut a long story short, I absolutely loved my experience volunteering with a very small start-up company and a network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. I found other opportunities through the people I met at the start-up and guess what… that’s how I found Rambutan!
I have been with Rambutan for a little over two years now and will always be thankful for my volunteering journey and the friends I met along the way. Without that experience, I would never have found Rambutan and the lovely Rambutan bunch I love so much. I’m still in contact with the places I volunteered for and have stepped in for events, odd jobs and some facilitation for their (ever-growing) team.
There are many incentives for volunteering with local start-ups, charities and initiatives. Whether you’re supporting a cause close to your heart or giving back to the community in your spare time, the benefits of volunteering are vast and exciting. My volunteering journey helped me find a place where I wanted to work full-time, opened up a range of career paths and connected me with people I never would have met before.
That’s just me, though. Where will your volunteering take you?