Sunday, 29 March 2015

City Law School Volunteer Awards 2015 - I am Proud to Have Won Volunteer of the Year 2015

On Friday evening I attended City University's annual Volunteering Awards. However, there was a point where I thought I was going to miss the award ceremony when my train journey was significantly delayed due to signal failure near Marylebone station. Thankfully, I arrived just in time thanks to a amazing taxi driver who improvised our route to avoid most of the rush hour traffic. I was very fortunate to arrive on time, as I was unaware that I was one of the lucky winners.

The volunteering awards was held to celebrate the achievements and commitment of City University students, within the community. It was a fantastic evening that celebrated the volunteering efforts of students across the schools who were all at different levels of their studies, ranging from first year undergraduate to various stages of postgraduate studies. 

Some of the volunteering projects included: 
  • Legal advice
  • Secret santa for children living in a homeless unit in London
  • Tutoring children in schools struggling to achieve GCSE's in Maths and English
  • Attending local schools to raise cultural awareness and diversity
  •  Supporting members of the community suffering dementia
  •  Offering support to new mothers to prevent them from feeling isolated from society
  • Fundraising for various charities and organisations
  • Plantation within the local community
These are just some of the fantastic and worthy causes that City University students have volunteered within over the last academic year. There were too many to name individually. Also I am aware that there are allot of students who volunteer on various projects who are unaware that you can record your volunteering projects and hours with the university. Therefore an accurate level of City University students generosity is unknown. However, there were over 2,375 hours of volunteering recorded by 119 students who signed up to the City University Volunteering website. These hours were recorded during the months of September 2014 - March 2015. This is an amazing level of commitment considering this is during the main period of academic study. Without a doubt there will also be some students who will commit to various volunteering projects over the summer vacation period.

The 2015 award ceremony was held at City University, in Northampton Square. Upon arrival it was obvious that allot of thought and planning had gone into the event. There were presentations that included photos and names of each shortlisted candidate and videos of some of this years projects. The winners were presented with modern personalised trophy, which was a lovely touch. Nominees and their guests were also treated to a generous buffet and drinks reception after the awards ceremony.

Amongst the guests were members of the local community, including local Councillor Caroline Russel, who handed out awards with the Vice Chancellor. 

The six award categories included:

  • Best New Volunteer
  • Outstanding Achievement in Volunteering
  • Leadership in Volunteering
  • Project of the Year
  • Team Player Award
  • Volunteer of the Year
There were over 80 candidates nominated for these awards. A list of the shortlisted candidates can be found here.  We also made it in to the Islington Tribune. (I'm not sure I like the picture of me though lol.)

I was overwhelmed to win the final award of the evening-Volunteer of the Year! It was really motivating after an exceptionally exhausting few weeks that had also contained some career related knock backs. I was still shacking from the shock 2 hours after receiving my award. This award means so much to me. I have worked really hard dedicating my free and not so free-time to different volunteering projects over the past three years. Nevertheless, even if my efforts had not been recognised I would still be proud. My trophy now takes center stage to my graduation certificate!

Finally, I would like to recommend volunteering to anyone who has some free time and is fortunate to be in a position where they do not need the assistance of volunteering organisations. You will be surprised how much support organisations offer their volunteers. You will also be surprised how easy it is to set up your own project. You can gain so much from volunteering. You can gain skills that will aid you in your future career and friendships that will last a lifetime. It is also amazing when you see the effects of your generosity on vulnerable members of society. It makes you feel part of the community and makes you realise that life is not black and white. While we are proud of the developments in society,medicine, politics etc, we forget that there are still many challenges that members of society unnecessarily face. Together we can make small changes and donate our time, even as little as 1 hour a month, to improve the lives of others. Worthy causes do not just need money.... they need people! So why not use that extra hour saved from this seasons Topgear being cancelled and help a project or charity close to your heart. You might encourage social change or make someones day a bit more manageable and encourage them to keep fighting whatever battles they are facing.

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