Volunteers’ Week 2022: Ruth
Volunteers’ Week runs from 1st-7th June every year, and it is a chance to thank all our amazing volunteers here at ACE IT. In 2022, we are highlighting the stories and experiences of some of our volunteers, and today it is former coaching volunteer, Ruth Ndjoba-Sieland, who volunteered with us until recently.
What did you enjoy the most about being a volunteer?
It was interacting with the people I helped. Just seeing them be ready to learn and being open. They came to me with whatever level of skill they had, and I didn’t feel like I did something big, but for them, the difference was major. In short, it was how grateful they were for the help they got. It was satisfying in the end – each time they left a session, they were really grateful. And I could see by the smiles on their face that even if I had made just a tiny difference, it was a big deal for them.
Do you have an example of a really rewarding moment?
Graham wanted to learn Excel. And I was dreading Excel, because I hadn’t done it since I was 17. And so when he asked for that, I thought, oh my goodness, where are we going to start? So what we did was… I wasn’t able to help him on the first session, because I just had no idea – I couldn’t remember a thing! What we agreed on was, I was gonna go do my homework, and he was going to go do his homework, and then we’d meet again, and try it one more time. He was very forgiving of the fact that I didn’t know, and I admire his willingness to come back and give me another chance to help him. It was good for me to admit that I can’t, and having the opportunity to learn something, and to have my Excel skills back on track. And so when he came back, I had learned more, and as we did the one on one with him, I improved along the way, and I can now say I’m no longer scared of Excel, and I’m actually quite good at it. And so, he became good at Excel as well!
How will you utilise the skills that you’ve learned and the things that you’ve done as a volunteer in other situations?
It’s improved my communication skills, my relationship skills, and also my ability to influence others. Because sometimes [learners] come with preconceived notions that they can’t do this, they’re not good at that. It’s being able to convince them that they actually can and they take the first step, and they trust you enough to actually do this.
Would you recommend volunteering for ACE IT to someone else? And why?
Yes, I would recommend. It’s made me more aware of the needs within the community, and more socially aware. The ability to help the unseen, which tends to be the elderly, because everybody assumes [because] they’ve lived so long, they probably know it all. So we have a more inclusive society where nobody’s left behind. The ability for the younger to help the older, it contributes to a more self-assured disposition for both. For the elderly, [they] leave the place more self-assured, and the younger are helping leave the place more self-assured, because they have something to give to those who we all assume already have it.
Any other comments?
It gives [learners] the opportunity to engage with others, helping their emotional and mental health. Because for some, it was the only opportunity to come out of the house. So they looked forward to the sessions because they had a chance to interact with us. It was a really good atmosphere. Because otherwise they wouldn’t want to come back. And whenever they entered the place, they would have this cheery smile and just be happy to be back. It’s fostering emotional and mental health.
The other thing I noticed was we also helped people navigate their return to work. So be it filling out CVs, or just how to do a job search or how to check their emails for jobs they’ve been offered, or just to [search] on Indeed. So they end up contributing to the workforce and to their economy, which I think is something amazing. We’re not just helping individuals, but we’re helping the community and also strengthening the economy.
If you are interested in volunteering with ACE IT, find out more here!