Joining Achieve More as a German volunteer
My name’s Toni and I have had the honour of supporting this great organisation as part of my short-term volunteering service spanning two weeks in July 2019. As soon as I arrived in Glasgow after an extensive 15 hour journey, I received a very warm welcome from Ahmed, who’d sorted out my ways of transportation like a champ! The following Monday allowed me to catch a glimpse of the ongoing summer camp, leaving me a bit flabbergasted at the sheer amount of young people and volunteers who were participting as well. That astonishment didn’t last too long however, as I took initiative and plunged right in- greeting kids and future co-workers left and right. I spent my days cheering on kids, deflecting wayward footballs and making sure that everyone had a great time. I got to know some of the kids and their backstories over lunch breaks and was throughoutly amazed by their limitless energy and unbreakable enthusiasm. I’m no football scout myself but many of these kids have undeniable talent most Scottish football clubs would be lucky to foster. No matter the situation, the staff and kids were respectful and friendly, making the fact that I’m a wheelchair user a non-issue. This is certainly something that Germany as a whole needs to get better at. Volunteering gave me some unique insights into the lives of young Scottish people and allowed me to reflect on the way that it is done back home.
I divided up my time between volunteering for Achieve More and the Reidvale Community Centre, a hub only a 15 minute bus ride away from the city centre of Glasgow. There I was put in charge of bolstering their social media profile, providing CC for existing videos as well as editing some of them to be published at a later date. When I wasn’t busy creating content, I used my time to help out the youngsters downstairs, acting as a referee to several improvised pool and archery competitions. I can assure you, dear reader that I did my utmost best to ensure that none of them got harmed. A big thank you to Josh and his team for providing me with an unforgettable experience. The second week allowed for me to interact more with other international volunteers and thanks to Luna, those moments are now forever caught on pictures, some of which you’ll see attached to this post. Although all of us were from different parts of Europe and (in some cases) the globe, we got on really well. Part of it, at least from my perspective, was that we had the common goal of making life just a little bit better for the young people we interacted with.
But the time volunteering did not just change other people – most of all it changed me too. Those two weeks were the first truly independent ones I’d experienced so far. At first it seemed daunting but braving them on my own allowed me to be more courageous and gave me the assurance that I could in fact tackle everything I wanted. For those yet undecided – foreign or not – I say: go for it. It’ll change you and your way of living.