My name is Eva Litso and I am a Psychology student, currently in the final year of my degree. During my time at university, I have been very proactive and been involved in various activities on campus and off campus. Volunteering is a big part of my life and I could not imagine my daily life without my voluntary roles. I first started volunteering when I started my degree at the age of 19, after I attended a talk about the importance of work experience and volunteering and I currently hold 5 voluntary positions. I started volunteering because I wanted to make a difference and offer to my community. Through my volunteering activities, I have (hopefully) had a positive impact on the lives of several young people around Oxfordshire and beyond.
My first role was with an educational charity, addressing educational inequalities and helping disadvantaged immigrant and refugee children who speak English as an additional language (EAL). I am still volunteering in the same role and essentially, my role is an EAL tutor, organising weekly one-to-one English lessons and making learning fun! Volunteering as an EAL tutor has been really rewarding because I can see the impact that I have on people’s lives- seeing the progress that my students make in terms of English language, but also confidence skills is priceless! Sometimes all we need is someone to encourage and support us unconditionally and this is the best part about being a volunteer; you do not expect anything in return, you offer help wholeheartedly and because you genuinely care about others and want to help your community.
I volunteer as a Mental Health Ambassador with a local charity, advocating for a better world, especially in terms of young people’s mental health and my aim is to raise awareness around mental health and help young people in Oxfordshire understand their own mental health better. My aim is to help young people develop the skills to take care of their wellbeing, by giving them information, tips and resources available. I am really enjoying this role, as it gives me the opportunity to have direct contact with young people, share ideas and talk! It is important to know that there are people around to help and through volunteering, we provide a safe place for young people to express themselves.
Volunteering is a great way to spend your time and has benefits for the community, but also for the volunteers themselves. Volunteering can help one find their sense of purpose, increases a sense of belonging, can help boost your self-esteem and make you feel useful, as you can see that your actions have a meaningful impact. If you struggle with your mental health or can’t seem to find the motivation to carry out daily tasks, volunteering can help improve how you feel about yourself and the world around you, while it can increase your motivation and help you become more organised- when you are busy, you feel the need to organise your time in order to be able to fulfil all of your commitments.
Volunteering has helped me learn more about myself, my interests and the skills I have, as I can see what I am capable of. It has also given me a chance to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I thought I couldn’t do before, such as public speaking, delivering presentations/workshops to different audiences, as well as presenting awards and talking in front of a big audience at an awards ceremony held at a local theatre. My younger self would be so proud of me and the progress I have made.
The way I see it, if I have certain skills or hobbies, why not use them for a good purpose? The fact that I speak several languages means that I can volunteer as a translator and help people access information in a language they are familiar with.
If you are passionate about something, why not share that passion with the world? Educate and encourage others to get involved.