Step this way for inspiring volunteering tales

Teach First ambassadors are a highly skilled bunch and they’re often keen to donate those skills to a great cause. Here are a few examples.

Helping supply clean water in Malawi

Adam Wynne was eager to use the skills he gained on our Training Programme to support international development projects. That’s why he became a trustee of charity United Purpose.

Teach First ambassadors have a huge amount to offer as a trustee. We bring energy, leadership skills and commitment to learning, not to mention any specific industry and functional skills.

Hearing from the people United Purpose’s work has helped is wonderful. I recently visited our clean water and sanitation programmes in rural Malawi. One community elder described to me how the pump we drilled has given 15 local villages a reliable source of water to drink and wash with. It is incredible to see how a donation we receive gets transformed into such a life-changing impact.

Being a trustee has al stay involved with schools back home. I’ve really enjoyed working with our UK development education team who provide students with the kind of global learning often reserved for more privileged peers, helping them develop the skills to have higher aspirations.

Giving back to Girlguiding

Girlguiding nurtured Jenni McDermott’s leadership abilities as a youngster. Today she’s passing on her experience to the next generation by working with 14 to 17 year-old Rangers.

"Many of the girls are disengaged in school, but they love the safe space we give them and the chance to engage in cooking, adventure, and other opportunities. They listen to each other, they're brilliant friends to one another and they surprise themselves all of the time.

I love seeing girls taking their own next steps and knowing I've helped make it happen.

As an international adviser I've supported girls who've been selected for International trips to the Philippines, Latvia, Croatia, Finland and Japan, which is so rewarding. I’ve also worked on projects with the Council of Europe, The European Youth Forum, training Guide Leaders in Tanzania and recreational trips to Switzerland and France with my own units. I love seeing girls taking their own next steps and knowing I've helped make it happen.

It's also a great chance to be a big kid and do all the activities myself."

Supporting other schools through thick and thin

By day Sarah Hayward is a science teacher at a secondary school. By night she’s a governor of a primary school, which she’s helped pull through some tough times.

"Our head teacher was off with stress related illness for 12 months. As well as supporting staff, the biggest challenge was bringing the matter to a close and ensuring that we did what was best for the school, whilst still fulfilling our obligation to members of staff. 

It feels really good to be part of such a positive change.

The school went on a huge journey over that year. As a governing body we have implemented and facilitated a wide range of support and we are now starting to see the benefits. The assistant head that stepped up during the head’s absence has developed into a fantastic leader loved by his staff. The quality of teaching and learning has improved exponentially, and feedback from students and parents is extremely positive. It feels really good to be part of such a positive change.

Introducing kids to the great outdoors (and sheep)

David Jones helps run the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme at his school in east Birmingham. As the son of a farmer and a geography teacher he was keen to pass on his love of the countryside.

Lots of the kids I teach are from council estates and their understanding of the UK is incredibly limited, they think everywhere is urban. When I take them out into the countryside it is mind blowing for them in lots of ways. They had no idea parts of the country could have such incredible natural beauty. When I took them up to the Long Mynd [a plateau in the Shropshire hills], they couldn’t get over the sheep. They were shocked that something could look like that. Some of them thought the sheep were going to eat them! A lot of the children I teach have difficult lives at home. Getting them into the countryside is an escape that gives them the freedom to just enjoy the beauty of being outdoors. Obviously it’s educational too. They don’t realise it, but we imbue our adventures with academic elements. For example, we’ll take them to a waterfall and I’ll explain how it was formed. They’re really amazed when they see geography in action – when I explain that 1000 years ago this valley wasn’t as deep as it is now or the waterfall was 500m down the gorge – and the idea the landscape isn’t static really links into their understanding of the academic side.

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