Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Steph from King’s College London talks about volunteering at a local homework club, and what inspired her to to get involved with STAR.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Steph, and I come from South East Wales. I love photography, cycling, chocolate spread sandwiches and Bob Marley. I’m studying Physical Geography at King’s and it’s the best subject ever! I’ve just come back from a fieldtrip to Morocco where my fellow geographers and I surveyed dry rivers, measured the regeneration of the highly valued argan tree and saw many goats in trees. After I graduate here, I hope to specialise in meteorology and become a weather woman (or a monster truck driver…). When I am not studying I volunteer for STAR and the Royal Geographical Society, and work at a pub.
How long have you been involved with STAR?
I signed up to STAR in my first year (2010) and became president of KCL STAR in June 2011.
Why did you get involved in STAR?
I really wanted to put some of my spare time to good use and meet cool, new people! KCL STAR offered the chance to mentor kids and have a bit of fun. A year and a half down the line I’m still really enjoying it!
What have been your highlights during your time with STAR?
Volunteering with STAR is always the highlight of my week, every week! It was also great to meet my fellow STARs at the committee training back in June.
Can you tell us a bit about your volunteering project?
KCL STAR supports Refugee Home School Support Project in Wandsworth, who run an after-school homework session, known as the ‘Wednesday Club’, for kids from refugee backgrounds. The Club started around 5 years ago with help from KCL STAR. Our volunteers help children aged between 5 and15 with their school homework and run other literary activities. After 45 minutes of work, we then move on to fun stuff like cooking, arts and crafts and active games. The Katherine Low Settlement where the Club is held has a snooker and table tennis room that the children really look forward to using after their work. In November we had a fireworks display and sparklers in a nearby field! Many of the kids had not used sparklers before, so it was very special.
What are the children like at the club? Can you tell us about one of them?
The kids are very, very, very energetic, hard working and a pleasure to be around. On 1st March this year, one year 3 girl remembered I was from Wales and said, “You’re from Wales aren’t you? We did that St David’s Day thing today. Y’know, the thing with the Cauliflower?!”. Our national vegetable is a leek, but I was very impressed with her for remembering!
What do you think makes a good STAR volunteer?
A good STAR volunteer is friendly, approachable, committed and doesn’t take themselves too seriously. The fact that our members actually want to volunteer their time makes them super cool people to be around!
What have you learnt, or how have you developed from being in STAR?
Since joining STAR I’ve become more confident, self-assured and tolerant. STAR has opened new pathways for me, including becoming a Geography Ambassador for RGS where I give presentations to groups of school kids about Geography. I’ve also been able to attend extra training and courses like the King’s Leadership Award offered by our Students’ Union to active student society members. Volunteering for STAR has also made me more aware of other cultures and made me a more responsible person. The friends I’ve made are brilliant and I definitely feel volunteering with STAR has added to my ‘student experience’.
Posted by STAR team on 16/05/2012 at 12:45 PM