I first started volunteering as a student and I found it so enjoyable and fulfilling that it influenced a career change a few years later. The volunteering involved taking children from deprived areas of Edinburgh away for weekends and evenings with Children’s Holiday Venture, as well as doing fundraising for the charity to support their activities. I also volunteered for a student telephone service – Nightline, which involved skulking away for overnight shifts once a week with strict instructions not to tell anyone why, which caused a few rumours at the time!
After teaching abroad for a couple of years, I decided to pursue the dreams started by my earlier volunteering experiences to return to Scotland to study Community Education. Whilst doing the MSc, I volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau and Women’s Aid, where, as I’ve found with volunteering, I learned a huge amount, gained invaluable experience and made lifelong friends.
Since then, all my jobs have involved working with volunteers – including as far afield as Nepal, trekking in the Himalayas to set up volunteer placements and to visit volunteers, with many adventures along the way. I’ve also continued to volunteer when I can over the years, including as a Trustee for a children’s charity and in doing sponsored cycles, runs and swims for a range of different charities.
Volunteering is definitely life changing and energising. At Dyslexia Scotland I’m constantly amazed at how dedicated and committed our volunteers are at national and local levels. Volunteers Week is a perfect opportunity to thank all our volunteers and to celebrate the work so many people do all year round. Cathy Magee Dyslexia Scotland’s CEO