Through our volunteering, Society colleagues gave their time and expertise to a range of individuals and organizations throughout 2018. As an organization we want to create meaningful partnerships and lasting impact across our volunteering, whether that’s through individual volunteering days, longer-term board responsibilities, or through our whole company away days.
In total, we spent around 450 hours volunteering in 2018. Below are some of the ways in which we feel we’ve made a positive contribution to a number of different organizations across the UK and the US.
Our Whole Company Away Day
Teams of Society’s UK colleagues spent their mornings in April with a variety of organizations, running CV sessions, mock interviews and fun activities for individuals seeking employment advice and support. For example, our Not-For-Profit team went to Toucan in Peckham, a charity that supports people with learning difficulties/disabilities in Southwark, Lambeth, Brent and Lewisham. In the afternoon, we all met at Battersea Park and got muddy while helping Thrive with some gardening.
In the US, our colleagues ran CV advice workshops to ACE Programs for the Homeless, a charity that empowers New Yorkers experiencing homelessness through a vocational rehabilitation and workforce development program.
Society is supportive of colleagues who have long-term voluntary commitments, such as those who are school governors or charity trustees. Having colleagues with board-level experience is a great way to develop inclusive and innovative leaders within our firm. It’s also important to our colleagues to invest time and expertise in their communities and organizations that mean a lot to them. Christiane is a governor at Epping Primary School in Essex, Simon is a governor at Hitchin Girls’ School in North Hertfordshire, and Tanya is a trustee of Magpie Dance, a disability arts charity in Bromley.
Individual Case Studies
We’re pleased to have supported a range of charities, schools, and causes in 2018, ranging from Brixton People’s Kitchen to the British Heart Foundation, and from Circle Collective to Breaking Barriers. Here are some detailed examples of the volunteering we did individually.
- George spent the day in Bermondsey at an Academy where he was helping to run a 'Great Men' workshop for Year 10 and 11 boys. Themes covered during the workshop included types of sexual harassment, objectification in the media, insecurities, and pride. This is what George said about the day: “We were running workshops in classrooms for up to 20 students. The workshops are full of activities to open conversations about gender stereotypes and the effects of societal expectations on young men. The teenagers at this particular school were not very well behaved, so it was challenging trying to control the sessions and get through to the students. Despite this, a lot of interesting dialogue emerged and some salient points about these rarely debated topics came up that I think will help some of the boys be more conscious of themselves and their environment as they continue growing up. I feel it’s really important to get them thinking about these things to make them more aware of the effects they have on others and vice versa”.
- Megan spent a day at Aylward Academy in North London with Access Aspiration where she conducted mock interviewing for Year 12 students. Megan asked each student some competency-based questions at their interview, followed by detailed feedback and advice on how they may improve for next time. Megan said: “It was a great day meeting lots of different students, hearing about their favourite subjects and their experiences in and outside of school. It was good to encourage the students to think about their skills and interests and give them the ability to talk about it in an interview setting”.
- Kerry, Mahfuza and Conor volunteered with Inspire! Education Business Partnership, an organization based in and around Hackney, Camden and Islington, which supports and delivers a wide range of programmes and projects for local schools and colleges. They attended a Further Education college in Hackney and ran a workshop day with students to help them learn about the world of work. In small groups, students were encouraged to plan their own theoretical outdoor festival, the aim of which was to encourage them to consider the skills (such as team work, which they didn’t realise they already had) and logistics (such as budgeting, partnership with local business, target market) they would need to plan such an event. Many of the students on the programme expressed a desire to work in business in the near future, but didn’t have the networks or opportunities to understand what sorts of roles exist. The workshop opened up the potential for them to more fully understand what skills they would use working within this sector, and how they might progress towards the job they wanted. After the workshop, Kerry said: “All of the students were surprised at the notion of transferrable skills and that they already possessed more of these than they thought. Without the work of Inspire! bringing business professionals to these students, they might not have had any other way to engage with this sector and consider their potential on this career path.”
- Jackie spent the day volunteering for the 7th annual ROHHAD Fight Inc. Fundraiser where she was helping raise awareness and support for this incurable disease. This would be the 5th year Jackie and her family have attended the event, in support of their close family friend who had been diagnosed with ROHHAD disease at the age of three. She said: “Everyone looks forward to the fundraiser each year, it’s always a fun day helping and watching the event grow. We spent the day hosting charity games and auctions, as well as information tables to raise awareness and support towards research for this rare disease. Only 75 children worldwide are diagnosed with the childhood disease, and without the support of this fundraiser’s mission to find a cure and help the families of children diagnosed with ROHHAD would be impossible to accomplish.”