As part of our Give & Gain week partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, we ran a Games festival in Cardiff. Here, I was extremely impressed by the attitudes of the volunteers; they arrived on time and raring to go, ready to make the day extraordinary for the children. As the day got started, I was immediately drawn to the abundance of energy coming from the Judo station.
I spoke to one of the volunteer coaches from Lloyds who was helping out with the Judo for the day, and he told me he how much he loved the volunteering experience. He raved about how much fun it was to do something completely different to daily office life, and make a positive difference at the same time. Whenever Lloyds arranged for a day such as the one in Cardiff, he would be there.
The following day, this very volunteer wrote this message to us at SportInspired:
“Well I’m still recovering from yesterday after being beaten up by 220 kids in Cardiff after I helped in the judo, but never had so much fun in doing so. It’s always amazing seeing the joy on the children’s faces and is great what you guys do and it’s the reason why I keep coming back year after year.”
The kids loved it as well, it was clear for everyone to see. They felt great about themselves, being able to take down an adult using their new-found Judo skills. The harder this Lloyds volunteer hit the mat, the more excited these kids got. I’m not sure who was enjoying it more, him or the kids, but I do know that, in this moment, barriers were being broken and the kids and adults alike were actively making a huge difference to one another. Whether they realised it in the moment or not, they were teaching each other more than an office or school environment ever could.
As put by one of our fantastic teachers;
“Today gave us an opportunity to empower our girls, to help them develop leadership qualities and skills that will stand to them for life. As teachers we always want to see our kids grow and develop, but sometimes the rigid environment of a classroom can restrict them. We saw our girls bloom today.”
While another volunteer had to say;
“The kids teach us adults far more than we can ever teach them. They’ve completely revolutionized how I as an individual communicate”
Those quotes and the motivated volunteer in Cardiff, to me, sums up the true value of employee volunteering programmes, for employees and community partners alike.
Harold Van Maaren