Today I wanted to write a quick post about volunteering at Aston. In particular, I want to discuss a program I’m a part of called Reading Buddies.
Aston offers students a lot of opportunities to get involved and volunteer both on campus and throughout Birmingham. The Student Volunteering and Outreach (SVO) office is constantly looking for students who are wanting to take advantage of the many opportunities they offer. Whether you just want to do a one-off day of helping on campus, or commit to a longer opportunity, the SVO office can help you!
The program I chose to be involved with during my time at Aston is called Aston Reading Buddies. During this 10-week program, volunteers are tasked with going into local primary schools and helping young children (typically 7-9 year-olds) improve their reading skills.
The Reading Buddies program started at the beginning of February and is now in its seventh week. So far, it has been a great experience. Having the students read to you, and helping them learn new words and seeing them improve their literacy is really fun. It took a couple of weeks for them to warm-up to me and feel comfortable, but once they did it became a really rewarding experience for everyone. They get to read to someone besides their normal teacher and I get to have fun and act like a kid for two hours per week!
The time commitment is roughly two hours per week during the 10-week program (typically just one day per week). The schools are very flexible in terms of making adjustments if you have exams or other school functions you need to attend. For example, during my exam week I was unable to make it in on my designated day, so they worked with me to find a different day to make it up. They understand you are a student and they want to make things as easy and convenient for you as possible.
Overall, this has been an awesome experience for me. I’ve learned more about myself, and it’s been fun to get away from uni for a few hours and unwind while helping these kids. They have been extremely responsive and I know I’m going to miss them when the program is over. I would highly recommend Reading Buddies to anyone looking to get involved during their time at Aston. And if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea (British joke haha), the SVO has a million more options for you to choose from. Either way, make it a point to get involved during your stay at Aston. It’s not only a great way to build your CV, but you get to do something for others in the process.
If you have any questions feel free to ask!
Thanks for reading.