I’ve done voluntary work since I was about 18 – first during my year off, then during university and now in addition to my full-time job. I first got involved with KLS about 4 years ago when I wanted to volunteer in my local area, came across Love To Learn and found out about learning mentors. I was looking for something completely different to my paid work as a civil servant. I met my then 6 year old mentee with his parents and the L2L coordinator one evening in their home. He was very shy and quiet, and found it hard to engage with new people. I started teaching him once a week, when I’d go straight from working in Westminster to his parents’ flat in Battersea. At the start he was very reserved and we focused on reading simple words, and very simple maths. Over time he gradually got used to me and started telling me things about his day or week. He has an amazing imagination! I taught him about the concept of numbers using pieces of Lego, and we practised times tables until he could do them flawlessly. We even started doing competitions between him and his elder brother – which he sometimes won! When I’m there his other brothers and sister come into the room to talk too – although I have to focus on my mentee as he’s just turning 11 and has SATs this summer.
I give to KLS because I really enjoy it, it’s fun and is completely different from my paid work. I love seeing my mentee’s confidence grow, and his academic abilities get stronger. More generally, I myself learn through teaching, and I feel incredibly lucky and privileged in my own circumstances and want to contribute to my community. It’s particularly important to me to help people who don’t always have a strong voice or who aren’t always treated fairly or with respect.
I was recently invited to become a KLS trustee and found out more about the charity. It’s a brilliant organisation – and very professionally run. As soon as I walked through the main entrance I felt a strong sense of positivity and community – which I loved. As a trustee I’ve learnt lots more about the fantastic range of valuable work carried out, and met lots of people participating in the classes – whether it’s sewing club, ESOL, or dance classes (in which I participated!). The stories of the people I’ve met highlight to me the incredibly important role KLS has in the local community. It brings people together, gives individuals a voice and instils confidence. I feel proud to be part of the KLS community and look forward to us continuing to work together in future.
Are you interested in volunteering for KLS? Get in touch at [email protected]
Would you like to be one of the first people to donate monthly to Katherine Low Settlement? Not many smaller charities ask for regular donations, but your contribution will go that much further with us as we strive to support people in Battersea. You can text KLS to 70085 to donate £3 per month or visit our website: www.klsettlement.org.uk/