I have been volunteering at the Centre for just over 6 weeks and I must say so far so good. Volunteering is something I have been doing since the age of 15. I started volunteering with the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme at my school. At first it was only because my friends were doing it too but soon it reached a point where I was genuinely enjoying it. I also noticed that I was not only giving back but it was also giving me opportunities that I didn’t think I could have.
I come from a single parent home, living in a council house in Tottenham and with a mum who for as long as I can remember has always had two jobs and so naturally I did not think that I could do certain things. However, I realised that through volunteering in a number of youth projects i was building experience, gaining new opportunities and developing my skills. For example, in 2009 I was given the opportunity to visit China as a result of my involvement in a youth project. I also discovered that I was able to gain confidence in myself and developed the ability to interact with a range of people.
Volunteering has become something which made such an impact on my life and has taken me to places I never thought I could go. This year I have started volunteering in the Immigration Department of the Cardinal Hume Centre, I have already developed several skills such as drafting letters to clients, preparing case files and how to interview prospective clients. These are invaluable skills which I know will help me in the future as a barrister, my chosen career path.
I’ve never worked on immigration issues before and I have met such a variety of people at the Centre who come from all parts of the world but each has a different story to tell. The immigration officers spend a lot of time getting to know the people and trying to help them which is very impressive.
I am looking forward to my time at the Cardinal Hume Centre.