To celebrate National Volunteers Week, PITC would like to say a big thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers that contribute so much every week and give back to their local community.
This week we will be promoting young volunteers nominated by our Community Projects leaders who they feel have gone above and beyond to contribute on our weekly community based sports sessions we offer across the city. Read their fantastic stories here.
Meet Denis, he is 21 years old and has just finished his third year studying Computer Games Enterprise at University of Portsmouth. He is from Nairobi in Kenya and chose to study in the UK as he felt this could offer him a great wealth of experience and expertise. Denis applied to volunteer with Pompey in the Community in October 2015 as a part of a formal placement for his second year of studies which required him to complete a set number of hours of volunteering over a 6 month period. Choosing sport, a personal passion of his and working with young people as he wanted to give something rewarding back to the local community.
What made you get involved in volunteering with PITC?
Sport has always been my passion, especially when there is an interaction that encourages personal as well as physical growth. PITC offered the opportunity to enjoy my passion for sport while also interacting with like-minded people to better the community.
Since our first meeting with him, Denis impressed us with his professional and polite manner and enthusiasm for wanting to come and volunteer with us. Denis chose a weekly mixed football session for young people aged 9-18 years old which was a relatively new area of the city for us to work in. Denis contributed over 25 hours volunteering between October 2015 and May 2016 and without fail he made himself regularly available each week for the session. He proved to be trustworthy, reliable, committed and worked hard to build relationships with the young people we have on session.
Our sessions change every week, as they are free and open access one week we could have two young people and the next we could have approaching 20 young people. It can very hectic and quite challenging at times but Denis has never shied away from taking on more responsibility. Whether it is three young people or 15 young people, they are aged 6 or 14 years old, Denis has treated them all with respect and kindness and they have returned this to him each week. Denis is a fantastic role model for the young people to learn from.
In September 2016, when Denis returned to complete his third year of studies he was really enthusiastic about volunteering for us again. Staff were really pleased to have him back and he volunteered on our weekly Junior Boys football session on a Friday afternoon at Bransbury Park. He balanced a demanding final year in university with his volunteering commitments and has always been a great asset on the sessions to date.
What is the best experience so far you have had volunteering?
My best experience was when I returned to a volunteering session after a long break of focusing on my studies. The joy of the young children and their excitement when I showed up is something that still replays over in my head. Remembering their excitement makes me want to get involved more and more.
Denis has also given up time to help develop a new exciting project tackling homelessness in the city which is being designed by our young people and volunteers.
If and how has volunteering helped you in other areas, such as studying, university, gaining employment
One aspect volunteering has really helped me improve is my time management. Planning the volunteering sessions alongside my studies has made me more conscious of time and how to best use it. Volunteering has also made an improvement to my CV, which I am very grateful for as this makes me more employable. It is worth noting that volunteering has played a massive role in my overall physical well-being.
He has been a great role model and really positive asset to us over the past two years.
‘From the start, he was very consistent with his style of volunteering. He knew what he was doing straightaway and fitted in easily on session with young people. Denis will do well in whatever he chooses to do and has been a pleasure to work with’.
Louis Faith, PL Kicks Co-ordinator
Denis will be sorely missed when he returns home to Kenya in the summer and we want to take this opportunity to say thank you for everything he has done for the young people and the local community of Portsmouth.