Volunteers' Week: Pamela
During Volunteers’ Week, 1 - 7 June, we’d normally be able to thank all of our volunteers in person. However, because of the current crisis, we’re not able to see everyone so it’s even more important to let volunteers know how much we value them and to say Thank You. Without these volunteers our local organisations would find it much harder to deliver their activities and connect with the community.
This week, we're highlighting a handful of those volunteers and sharing their experience of volunteering for Brent 2020.
1. What motivated you to volunteer for Brent 2020?
Inspiration – Sadly, my mother died November 2018 and it was a heartbreaking time for my family and I. I travelled abroad for the burial and, while I was there, one major thing that kept being said was how she positively impacted her community.
I had been a volunteer at World Skills 2012, however hearing this about my mother reignited a passion in me to make a positive impact in my community and leave a legacy. I also wanted a way to take the focus off myself because I was not coping with her passing. I have learned through it all that good can come out of bad, if we focus on serving others. On a lighter note, I also want to have some fun and meet new people!
2. Describe briefly what roles you’ve had and what you‘ve been doing, and for how long?
I am part of the Trailblazer Team and a Pioneer. The Trailblazer Team started in July 2019 and we were responsible for co-designing and shaping ideas for the Brent 2020 volunteer program and the volunteer handbook. We’re also responsible for interviewing, selecting and recruiting new volunteers, and presenting what Brent 2020 and the volunteering program is through orientation events.
We were fortunate to help develop learning resources, train and deliver workshops, user testing and support events during the course of the year. We still hold regular meetings as a team to give feedback on the volunteering program and other parts of Brent 2020, to see where things could be improved or any insights we have learned “on the field”.
I am so glad to say that I was also part of the RISE Community Dancers, which was created by the SouthPaw Dance Company, with creative director Robby Graham and his fantastic Dance Leads! I was part of the Brent community, of all ages and races, which came together to tell the intriguing story of Brent through dance. It was a great story of our history, struggle, culture and victory and I am so grateful to have been a part of something so epic, especially now in view of COVID-19. To have had a time when we did not have to think of social distancing was such a blessing, which I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. I made a lot of lifelong friends and I learned so much about the other dancers, and had a richer experience of Brent.
3. How has that changed (if it has) since the advent of Covid-19 and the lockdown?
Right now, in the midst of COVID-19, everything has been converted to digital e.g. online events. So that is my main mode of communicating, but I am hoping that at some point we can have more physical activities. The focus is more on helping out during this time. So on Twitter (@pamelapioneer), I highlight what Brent Council and other fantastic charitable organizations/ people are doing e.g. providing food and household supplies to those in need.
4. What have you got out of the experience of volunteering? Have you developed any particular skills, used or developed particular experience, tried something new, made new connections, got a new job / changed career etc?
A sense of belonging. That is, I feel that I am part of somewhere and something now. That my views matter and because of that I can be someone that helps to make sure other voices are heard. I have a greater sense of purpose, that I am here for a bigger reason than just me and my concerns. I feel I am part of something greater than just myself, and my goal is to make a positive impact on Brent and hopefully be part of that pioneering spirit of Brent that others (even those that are not “Brentians”) can look at and be inspired by.
In terms of skills, some great dance moves being part of RISE! But also, I am getting better at presenting and speaking in front of large groups of people. That has not been easy for me, since I find it nerve wracking, but I have had to “stand up and deliver“ which has been a good growing process.
Being part of the Trailblazer Team was something new for me because I got to learn leadership skills and be part of a “think tank“ group; coming up with ideas that would impact the Brent 2020 volunteers. I am very grateful and humbled to have been a part of that.
5. How would you describe your Brent in 3 - 5 words
Diverse, RISE, Stronger Together, Love!
6. Tell us anything else you think is relevant!
In light of COVID -19, there is a lot of fear and anxiety and understandably so. I have my good and bad days to be honest, but I hope we do not lose sight of how people have truly rallied together at this time too. A message of hope is very important and we will be able to come through this but only if we do it together.
Also, volunteering is great! We all have different reasons why we get involved. Yours maybe different from mine, but they are all valid. If anyone is sitting on the fence about volunteering, just do it, no matter how small, and see how much your life opens up when you commit to serving your community and humanity.