The Volunteer Spotlight is a feature that takes a look at the volunteers who are involved with ACE and whose efforts make the work that we do possible.
In this edition we hear from Carmella Lake who has been an ACE volunteer over 3 years, currently for the Key Stage 4 club on Tuesday evenings as well as helping with fundraising and research for the charity.
Tell us a bit about yourself – how long you’ve been in Cardiff, where else you’ve lived, hobbies etc.
I moved to Cardiff in 2006 to undertake a Master’s in Education at the then, UWIC… Before Cardiff, I lived in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where I was doing a PGCE with French, before that I lived in the North of Spain (inland) for a year, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), before that, I lived in Edinburgh for 4 years where I completed my undergraduate degree. There’s more! Prior to that, I took a ‘year out’ and in France (Paris) and the Netherlands mostly. That was after I’d been on scholarship at the United World College of the American West, in New Mexico, where I studied the International Baccalaureate. And before that I lived in Northern Ireland, where I was born & lived until age 17, now, more than half of my life ago!
How long have you been involved with the KS4 club and how/why did you get involved initially?
Having recently completed an MA in Education, I really wanted to get involved with an educational charity. First of all, I volunteered at the Welsh Refugee Council, where I taught English to people of all creeds. Then, I volunteered with another charity, ‘Learning through Landscapes’ before coming upon ACE Cardiff. I was involved with assistant teaching on Saturday mornings first, then Thursday evenings, before the KS4 club came into existence.
What do you enjoy most about the club?
I enjoy working with students and my CV tells the tale of this. Although it can be said that I am most confident in teaching English Language, I, myself, did GCSEs and not all that long ago and have felt confident in working with students on their Biology past-papers.
What do you enjoy least?
Mmmmmmm… I guess I didn’t enjoy the ‘Zero show’ sessions or when the ratio of tutor to student was greater on the tutor side!
Tell us about your other volunteering work and the importance of volunteering for you
What I really enjoy about volunteering is the idea of being part of a group of like-minded people who are involved with doing good in society. I know this is so cliché, but it’s also so true! There is much to be learned from volunteering and as volunteers, there’s much to give, believe it or not!
Anything you’d like to mention to potential volunteers?
Volunteering is great! It doesn’t cost anything to participate in and looks really good on CVs. For me, I have witnessed co-volunteers offering their skills and I, too, have silently learned from them. I find it very encouraging to see others making a difference to someone’s life. Potential volunteers should go for it and give your all, while you can! So that sometime in the future we can be grateful when others help us. There’s nothing to lose and you have so much to give, always!