Why did you choose to volunteer for Mind Your Mate?
I chose to volunteer with Mind Your Mate as in the past I had dropped out of two universities due to severe mental health issues. After recovery from that, I felt it was my responsibility to try to be involved in projects which could best help others who might be experiencing something similar. I felt strongly, and still do, that mental illness can be overwhelmingly oppressive at the time but that it can eventually lead to tremendous growth with the right help in place. Thankfully, Mind Your Mate affords the awareness that it can get better.
What have you enjoyed most during your time as a volunteer?
I really enjoyed getting to know the people who came to the workshops. At the beginning of any workshop, I would try to hear the story of anyone who might have come and try to facilitate conversations between table members. As a volunteer it was that balance of taking on a mode of responsibility but in service to something so important, with people who might be needing it at that moment.
How much of an impact do you feel your volunteering has made?
The feedback was generally good. People even came up asking for us to facilitate at their societies or where they worked, so it appeared that people benefitted from the workshop. The Feedback sheets at the end were always so great to see ??
What would you tell a student who is thinking about volunteering?
Do it! For the public speaking training alone, it is worth it. But it is doubly so as the message that you’re presenting is so personal, so worthwhile, that you will leave with skills and a much greater degree of confidence in yourself that would be difficult to cultivate otherwise. We also find parts of ourselves in helping others - this will tend to remain obscured if we don’t leap past our own misguided perception of who we think we are, of what we think we can offer and who we think we can be.
If you could sum up your volunteering experience in one word, what would it be?