June 6, 2021, by Grace Dixon
Volunteer spotlight: Anya Manek
Volunteering is an incredible way to make new friends and make real differences in the local community. The are endless benefits. The best way to find these out is to hear from a volunteer and discover how volunteering can benefit you!
Our Leadership Academy Ambassador Grace Dixon chatted to Anya Manek, a second year student studying Politics and International Relations. She is one of the hundreds of University of Nottingham student volunteers giving up their free time to develop sport on campus and within their local community.
Anya is a regular coach for the Beeston Football Club’s girls’ youth team. Her job is to plan and run training sessions and support the squad on match days. She’s also started a new role within the club as Team Media Officer this year. This is a a big contrast to what she normally does. Here, she writes match previews and conducts match interviews. Social media is also a huge element of her volunteering as she maintains the clubs accounts. And Covid-19 has not stopped this! Anya has maintained the social media accounts throughout the lockdowns. She has also delivered several coaching and training sessions online.
Volunteering your time and your skills are huge contributions you can make to the local community. But, volunteering is also an excellent personal development opportunity for yourself. Volunteering through a pandemic, like Anya, provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate flexibility in your skill set which, looks great on job applications. As Anya’s duties demonstrate, you can gain a vast amount of experience within just one setting.
Looking to the future
Everyone has a dream career, and volunteering can help you achieve that goal. Anya is an aspiring journalist. Through her experience with sport, she has already had a taster of what her future could be and had a fantastic learning opportunity to give her an advantage over her competition.
The most important skill Anya has learnt is creative problem solving. Every player responds differently so the ability to think on your feet and adapt quickly is really important. Especially with young children! Journalism is a fast-paced environment and her role as Media Officer has given her vital insight into her future. For example, when interviewing players after a bad game, a sympathetic approach is needed. As a result, Anya has practiced adapting her communication style to depend on her audience. A particular skill that not many have!
Important as it is, not everything revolves around planning for our future careers. Volunteering can also really benefit you right now. It provides a unique opportunity to create links with the local community that normal University life may not always provide. Networking is incredibly important. After all, its not what you know it is who you know. And you never know when someone might have an opportunity for you.
As Anya describes – it is also incredibly rewarding to see the people you have helped continue to improve and thrive week after week. Her passion for football has only increased and she gets to be involved every week with the sport she loves. Doing what you love while helping others, will help maintain your personal happiness. It will only promote and benefit positive mental health- something extremely important in the current climate.
Have you been inspired by Anya’s story? Everyone can make a real difference through volunteering – both for themselves and others.
Our Leadership Academy doesn’t require any previous experience and anyone can get involved. Any contribution is valued. But, if you are a keen sports player, our programmes can offer you a great chance to share your passion with young people in the community. We offer training opportunities, recognised qualifications and mentoring – ideal to boost your CV and employability skills.
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