Volunteering with Discovery
By Owain Brooks
I started volunteering with Discovery during my second year in order to expand my CV and my employability. The first projects I volunteered on were Orientation Buddies and Age Exchange. Orientation Buddies is a project that supports new Swansea University students with autism to adjust to the university environment. Age Exchange involved planning and hosting activities for older adults such as craft sessions and quizzes.
Pretty soon Discovery wasn’t just a place where I could improve my skills, it was a place where I made friends, could go for a coffee and it became a second home to me. For me, Discovery has had a massive boost on my self-confidence and well-being, allowing me to make lifelong friends and make a difference to the community. Through being a project coordinator and trustee for Discovery I have improved both my public speaking and team working skills as well as gaining leadership experience. Not many 23 year olds can say that they have helped to run a charity! Nor can they say that they trained for and ran a half marathon in six weeks to raise money for a local Swansea charity!
One of my favourite memories was working on Orientation Buddies. The student I was buddied up with became involved in Discovery and ended up volunteering on Orientation Buddies the following year. It was great being a part of their journey and seeing them develop and grow as an individual.
So what is Discovery? Discovery SVS is a student-led charity that helps enrich the lives of the community through a wide variety of volunteering opportunities. Some projects specifically involve working with adults such as Active 18; an online social group run by Discovery that allows disabled adults to develop their skills. Other projects work with children, an example being Surfability, where you can help disabled young people to boost their self-confidence through surfing. Discovery also offers a range of practical projects such as the Vetch, where you can help maintain allotments and community gardens and one-off volunteering opportunities such as through litter picks.
Discovery isn’t just a place where you can give back to the community, make a difference and make friends. It is also a way that you can really improve your CV and can participate in things like the Higher Education Achievement Record and be able to have a great reference for future employers. I would urge all students to sign up and check out what Discovery has to offer here: www.discoverysvs.org. If you would like to know more and ask some questions you can also come meet the Discovery team including current volunteers by checking out the Discovery Virtual Sofa every Wednesday at 1pm on Facebook @DiscoverySVS