Teen discovers passion for volunteering

Ashur Cali, 16, from Leeds has a whole new outlook on volunteering and a more positive outlook on life after completing the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme.

Had 2020 gone to plan, Ashur, was due to go away on the traditional NCS programme this summer to live independently, meet new people, develop new skills and contribute to making a difference in the  community. However, social distance restrictions meant this was not possible,  Ashur was still able to make a difference in the community through completing NCS’s‘Keep Doing Good’ programme. ‘Keep Doing Good’ aims to pledge 1 million volunteering hours into local communities to help them bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.

Before the two week ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme, Ashur thought that volunteering was limited to working for free for a company and wasn’t aware of the charity work he was able to get involved with. Whilst on ‘Keep Doing Good’ Ashur took part in some volunteering at Shine community garden in Leeds. The gardens provide the local community with a scenic place escape to, relax and enjoy a little bit of countryside in the heart of the city.  After helping with the renovating of the gardens, Ashur has a much better understanding of volunteering and is keen to volunteer again the future. He would also like others to be inspired by what the group have done, and get involved with volunteering themselves.

Ashur said

“I’ve not only volunteered and done some good but I now feel a lot better than I did before starting the program. My time has been spent doing something worthwhile and bringing something positive to another person’s day

Whilst on ‘Keep Doing Good’ Ashur developed his teamwork skills. The group was tasked with gathering and debating ideas for a Social Action Project before presenting them as a group.

Ashur said

“At the start of the two weeks, I would have put myself forward for a leadership role, leading and making decisions, assuming I was the best at the job. However, the time with NCS has taught me the value of stepping back and listening to others and that not only my voice matters in a collaborative environment. Now, I loosen the reigns in a way and allow other members of the team to make a choice and I will follow their leadership, more of a team player than before the program.

Stacey Fannan, Team Leader, at Learn By Design noticed a change in Ashur and said

“On day one Ashur was a quietly confident young person. Always keen to give an answer or volunteer to take charge. He has been a driving force amongst the team from the get-go. However, a noticeable change in Ashur is although he is confident and first to offer an answer or response, he would doubt himself in his answer especially if challenged. Now on the final day, Ashur is quick to answer and able to confidently give justification for his answers and positively meet challenges. He also made positive development in his teamwork and listening skills and can work collaboratively to achieve team goals.”

To find out more about ‘Keep Doing Good’ visit https://wearencs.com/keep-doing-good