Volunteering at Warwick
One of the best ways to get involved in the Warwick community is, undoubtedly, through ‘Warwick Volunteers’. They provide a multitude of opportunities to give back to the local community, of which you can find here; https://warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/
My experience with volunteering at Warwick was with the ‘Right to Read’ initiative. I took part in this project in my first year and found it to be a thoroughly rewarding experience. During my time on the ‘Right to Read’ initiative, I spent around 2 hours a week at a designated local primary school, of which was only a short 20/30 minute walk away (but the initiative does cover expenses if you end up at a school slightly farther away). I did this every Wednesday afternoon during the Term 2 of my first year, sometimes with a couple of extra hours here and there if I was available and they felt that they needed me around for extra time.
During those couple of hours, I would work my way down a list of the children in the class of whom had not yet spent time reading individually to a teacher or teaching assistant that week, and ensure that they were given 10/15 minutes to read to me whilst I was there. As well as working on their general reading abilities and pronunciation, boosting the confidence of the children was one of the main priorities of the initiative. The initiative is concentrated around the fact that many children rarely get the opportunity to read to someone at home, meaning it is essential for them to be given individual time within their school day to work on their reading. So, having someone to read to for just 10/15 minutes a week can be incredibly beneficial.
Through this, as well as from time to time getting to sit in on their classes, assemblies and PE classes, you slowly get to know the children really well, and you begin to grasp their styles of reading and what they respond best to. Seeing them progress over the period of volunteering was undoubtedly one of the best aspects of the initiative, as you could really see the reading of some of the children improving substantially, as well as seeing them gain confidence. What was also great, was the way in which the initiative encourages a love for reading, as opposed to seeing it as more of a chore, so it was really great to see the children become more engaged with what they were reading and seeing them get excited for the opportunity to read to you each week.
In addition to the way in which the initiative helps to improve the reading and confidence of the children, it is also a fantastic opportunity to boost your own confidence and communication skills. You also are by no means just left to go into these schools on your own, as you are given training before you begin, and the staff at the schools also help you massively to settle in and help you to get to know the class you’ll be with for the coming weeks. Spending a couple of hours week in one of the schools is also a really nice time out from the more hectic university life, as well as being an opportunity to meet likeminded people.
I would most definitely recommend getting involved with this volunteer initiative, or any of the others offered by Warwick Volunteers, as it is a fantastic opportunity to get involved with the local community, whilst it also being flexible around your University and work commitments. I will leave below the links to the different volunteering opportunities offered by Warwick Volunteers, as well as the ‘Right to Read’ initiative that I took part in.
Right to Read initiative – https://warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/volunteering/righttoread/
Other volunteer opportunities – https://warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/