Maya’s volunteering story
"Volunteering as a student has been incredible - it has given me some structure to my week as well as feeling like a productive member of my community feels great to be able to give something back."
Name: Maya Howell
Started volunteering with Humankind: February 2022
Volunteer role: Student Volunteer
Maya is a student volunteer at The Greens in Sheffield. She started last year in February 2022, and was there on a placement as part of her course for 40 hours a week over three months. During this time, she launched a peer mentoring programme and created sets of questions for the skills academy. Maya also helped out, ran groups, and did general admin around the office.
“I enjoyed my time at The Greens so much that I started to carry on as a volunteer once a week for my final year of university,” Maya said.
After the completion of her placement, a month as a student volunteer involves going into The Greens once a week, usually on a Wednesday for around 5-7 hours. Whilst there Maya takes part in various jobs such as answering the door to the residents, helping out around the project, assisting in the weekly groups, and making posters for events. Each month Maya also creates the monthly newsletter which includes a list of national awareness events for that month, a couple of recipes, and things that are going on around the project that residents may be interested in.
Maya is also currently in the process of writing her 8,000 word dissertation. Research for this is focused on Humankind, specifically looking at the accessibility of services for ethnic minorities. This is a gap she noticed whilst volunteering and is something she felt was worth researching. Maya will be conducting interviews within The Greens as well as attending any events related to her research project that could be helpful. After this is completed, she will be passing on her paper to people within Humankind, so that her findings can be used to improve practices. Having a dissertation based around Humankind has allowed her to stay connected throughout her studies, as well as her one day a week at The Greens.
Talking to us about this research opportunity, Maya said, “It is also a pleasure to be able to research a topic that I know will be helpful and something I feel I have an insight in thanks to my volunteering.
“Volunteering as a student has been incredible – it has given me some structure to my week as well as feeling like a productive member of my community, it feels great to be able to give something back. Before volunteering I felt lacking in ambition and purpose where most of my days were just filled with studying and seeing friends occasionally, however since being at The Greens I have felt more hopeful and prepared for the real world. Volunteering with a charity gives you a great insight into the world and working with people from all walks of life. The experience I have gotten at The Greens I feel has been just as, if not more, valuable than the content I have learned through university and it is something I am extremely thankful I did.”