September 11, 2023, by Rebekah

Pro Bono Society – Aspire Project

Hi!  My name is Rowan Buxton and I am a 4th year LLB Law with European Law student and one of the current co-heads of the Aspire project!  As part of my role, I lead groups of student volunteers as we go into schools around the local Nottingham area and run interactive sessions that introduce topics children might not necessarily get a chance to learn about during normal school time.  Our workshops cover a whole host of different and exciting topics, such as climate change, women’s rights, and access to justice!

I first became aware of Aspire during the start of my second year, where I visited the Welcome Fair during the first few weeks of term and was encouraged by the Pro Bono team to attend their introductory lecture a few days later.  During this lecture, I was introduced to all the amazing projects Pro Bono offers, and was immediately drawn to Aspire because of its interactive elements and the opportunity it would provide me to play an active role in giving back to the community that I called home.  I rushed home and immediately filled out the relatively easy and straightforward application form, which instructed me to briefly introduce myself and why I felt I would be a valuable addition to Aspire as one of the student volunteers.  Aspire is always one of the most popular projects offered by Pro Bono, so when I found out I had been selected for that year, I was over the moon!  Now as co-head of the project, I am even more excited about the new academic year and I cannot wait to meet our new cohort of volunteers, who I’m sure will help propel Aspire to even further heights!

From my very first session, I immediately became aware of just how strong and tight knit the Aspire community is.  Without being unnecessarily cliché, one of the things I love the most about Aspire is the family atmosphere each and every volunteer helps to create.  Because Aspire runs so many incredible sessions across the year, you quickly learn everyone’s different mannerisms and individual traits, which then allows for each workshop to be perfectly tailormade to the volunteers helping out on that day.  This only helps further the experience of our volunteers, whilst also ensuring the impact of the workshop is maximised for the children who are being taught as well!

To me, Aspire is the PERFECT opportunity for people interested in a career in teaching, those who are looking to add some all-important experience to their CV, or those who are simply wanting to build on their confidence and leadership.  Any potential Aspire volunteer acts as a ‘teaching assistant’ to one of the co-heads during the session, and is responsible for managing and guiding a group of children through the workshops.  It’s no understatement that children can be somewhat unpredictable to work with at the best of times, so it’s very important for our volunteers to be able to communicate well with others, as well as exercising good patience and confidence in their dealings!

If you’re wanting to be part of Aspire, it’s important for you to demonstrate to us your adaptability, your organisational skills and most of all, your kindness.  For the children we teach, having Aspire in their school will often be the highlight of their school week, so I cannot stress how important it is for any potential volunteer to be as kind and compassionate as they possibly can be – it really does make a world of good!  I like to think that in 99% of all cases, the difference between a mediocre workshop and an amazing one is as simple as a kind smile and the ability to connect with a child.  Other than that, the best way to catch our eye is to show how passionate you are about our project; we absolutely love Aspire and the impact we are able to have in and around our wonderful community, and we’d love for you to share that passion too!

Good luck to anyone that applies, and I hope to see you soon! 🙂

Have a look at the Pro Bono website for further information.

Posted in University Partnership Placements Blogs