Volunteering Lights Up My Life: Winter 2018

Volunteers from ACDI got together on Thursday 29th November 2018 to work on a project which would add some light to the darkness – both literally and metaphorically!

Working in pairs, there was uncertainty about how the lanterns would turn out. Soon, however, from a pile of willow, structures for the lanterns emerged thanks to their handiwork.

We then took a break to discuss the positive impact volunteering has on the team before covering the lanterns in tissue paper – a very messy process! As we ran out of time, we finished the lanterns on Thursday 20th December before the Christmas Disco.

Jack shows off the finished moon lantern.


Volunteering & Kindness

We had some great conversations during the break. Responses included:

  • Volunteering lights up my life by seeing all the happy faces on the people I help.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by helping me to talk to groups of people without getting nervous.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by giving me confidence in social situations.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by giving me the opportunity to meet new people.
  • Volunteering lights up my life by being able to make people smile.

Volunteering has increased each volunteers self-confidence and they enjoy making a difference in their community. We keep track of each volunteer’s development at supervision sessions to ensure they get the support they need to make they impact they want. Giving time to help out in the community by volunteering is a kind thing to do; it allows you to build connections with people. Following on from hearing about what kindness means to ACDI’s employees, I asked volunteers for their thoughts. Responses from staff and volunteers included:

  • Kindness means treating people with respect and making sure you listen.
  • Kindness means helping someone in need.
  • Kindness means support.
  • Kindness means pausing to think about the consequences.
  • Kindness means helping others in need.
  • Kindness means showing people they matter.
  • Kindness means being polite and showing people respect.
  • Kindness means being a friendly person and helping out when you can.
  • Kindness means supporting others and helping others.
  • Kindness means respecting everyone.
  • Kindness means just being there.
  • Kindness means inclusion and open-mindedness.

The diverse range of responses show just how complex the concept of kindness is – something I’m exploring in more depth as part of the Kindness Innovation Network.

As a Volunteer Friendly organisation, we ensure that our volunteers are recognised for the contribution they make to the organisation and the wider community. At this event, it gave me great pleasure to present three Saltire Award certificates, Jack with his 50 hours, Logann with her 25 hours and Sarah with her 10 hours. Volunteers also received certificates from the Promoting Positive Mental Health course we participated in earlier in the year.

Click the thumbnails below to view the photos:

On the subject of kindness – I’d like to send some gratitude. Firstly, for the funding that allowed this to happen – thanks go to East Ayrshire Council and the members of the public who voted for us at the marketplace. Secondly, to Eden Project Communities for the inspiration. Thirdly to everyone at the Kindness Innovation Network for giving us these points to think about. And finally, to all the volunteers at ACDI – I’m so glad I will have the opportunity to continue to work with you during 2019!

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