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 Helen Rowley who volunteers at the Tuesday KS4 sessions assisting children with their homework and helping to oversee the running of the session.
Tell us a bit about yourself – how long you’ve been in Cardiff, where else you’ve lived, hobbies etc.
I grew up in the countryside in Lancashire, spent a few years in Leeds and then moved to Cardiff about 9 years ago and I love it here. After trying out a few different jobs I finally settled on a career in law, which I really enjoy but it’s very much a desk job so I like to be active in my spare time. Aside from volunteering with TLC I climb pretty regularly and generally like to get outdoors.
How long have you been involved with the TLC and why did you get involved initially?
I’ve been involved with the learning club for about 6 months. I had some spare time and wanted to do something different from my day job. I come from a family of teachers and have teenage nieces so I’m used to helping people with their homework (or trying to at least!) When I heard about TLC it seemed like the perfect fit.
What do you enjoy most about the club?
The homework club sessions are a lot of fun! A number of the same students come each week and it’s been great getting to know them and seeing them progress. The students are generally very focussed and work hard and I find it really rewarding when I can help them get to grips with a concept they have been struggling with.
What do you enjoy least?
While it turns out I remember a surprising amount of Maths, science is another matter. Trying to help a student out with their biology homework was a stark reminder that I did GCSE science more than half my lifetime ago. The revision books are extremely welcome on those occasions!
Tell us about your other volunteering work and the importance of volunteering for you
Giving up just a little bit of my spare time to do something that (hopefully) helps someone else is hugely rewarding. I’ve met some really interesting people volunteering and it’s wonderful to be part of a project that has a real, tangible benefit to the students.
Anything you’d like to mention to potential volunteers?
Give it a go! If you’re at all interested in volunteering then you’ve almost certainly got something to offer. As well as it feeling good to do something for someone else, you can learn so much and gain so many skills through volunteering – I certainly am!