Alan, on his volunteer experience and the skills he’s learned

Hello everyone, I’m Alan and I am currently a volunteer at the Literacy Pirates (aka. the Hackney and Haringey Pirates). I have been volunteering since September and I have had some amazing times at the Literacy Pirates.

First of all, let me tell you about what a volunteer does at Hackney Pirates. As a volunteer, you assist and help the new generation of young people fulfil their full potential. On most days you will arrive at 3:45pm and then head downstairs where you will get guidance from the teacher on what to expect. For the first half of your volunteering session you and your Young Pirate will read a book and you will assist them, taking it in turns to read and asking questions – this helps you have an impact on the child. Afterwards you will have a short break and start the next section, which is great fun as it changes every half term. It is normally focused around improving the writing skills of the child, but it is so much more fun than that! This term, for example, we are directing, writing and acting out a movie script which will be recorded and filmed and screened at a cinema and the children will have the whole red-carpet experience – it’s amazing!

I discovered the Literacy Pirates through one of my teachers, Ms Rapp, at my current sixth form Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre where she told me and others about the amazing work volunteers do at Literacy Pirates. Once I heard out about the opportunity, I knew that I definitely wanted to be a part of it. I try to volunteer about once every one to two weeks but the Literacy Pirates is really flexible so if you can’t commit to session for a few weeks, its fine, so long as you complete a minimum of 12 sessions.

It is this flexibility that allows me to fit volunteering around my studies. When you think about it, three hours every two weeks really isn’t that much, and those three hours are a great way to destress and enjoy your free time. I also believe the Literacy Pirates is extremely valuable as it has helped me with my university application as I have been able to reference the skills I’ve learned. Some key skills a doctor needs to possess are Communication and Leadership and these are needed throughout the application process, such as interviews, but also throughout one’s medical career. By working with the Young Pirates, I’ve been able to develop these skills, and I’ve also found the experience really rewarding.

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope I inspire you to come and join the Literacy Pirates wherever you are! That’s me, Alan, signing off.

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