Volunteering is a two-way street. For the time that you put in, you’ll get so much back in return.

Volunteers at the heart of iOi and our dedicated volunteers really bring our events to life. To celebrate International Volunteer Day, we caught up with Ashna, an iOi volunteer, who has helped to support two of our biggest events of the year. Find out more below about her experience of volunteering with the iOi and how you can get involved with us.

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What motivated you to volunteer with the iOi?

I first found out about the iOi through a friend who had already volunteered at a few events. When I went on the website to find out more I was really drawn to their fundamental aim of inspiring creativity in young people. It quickly reminded me of my passions and interests in the arts & sciences and I immediately wanted to get involved. I had a hard time only signing myself up for a few events because they all sounded fantastic and so much fun!

My first volunteering event, at Lab Live, was a very positive experience. It was well organised and all the staff involved were so inspiring and friendly. The energy and the atmosphere the kids brought to the imagination lab was also incredible and it made me realise just how worthwhile the event had been. At the end of the day I felt like I not only got to relive a little bit of my childhood,  but also make some like-minded new friends who I hope to keep in touch with. I would definitely take a couple days out of my day job to do this again and I would recommend anyone thinking about volunteering with the iOi to do the same.

Have you learnt new skills volunteering with iOi? Is there anything that you’ve experienced that you’ve been able to bring to your day to day work or study?

Volunteering with the iOi has allowed me to hone back in to my creative skill set, and has reignited my love for the science and arts. It has shown me that the youngest of minds can come up with the most ingenious solutions and it’s not necessary to be the most senior person in the room to have the best ideas. This change of perspective has given me a new level of confidence at work and in my personal life.

What’s the most memorable thing you experienced volunteering with the iOi?

The most memorable thing about my volunteering experience with the iOi has got to be all the like minded individuals that I’ve met along the way. It was great to network and connect with other volunteers from different backgrounds who were all coming together for a common goal. You really can make some lasting connections and it’s great to see some of the same faces at different events.

I was lucky enough to volunteer at the Imagine If: Art and Technology Festival at Tate Britain and spend time at two different stations. The first workshop, Very Very Far Away, was all about imagining our future and questioning how life could possibly change, not just on planet earth, but far beyond our solar system. It involved drawing up a physical timeline which stretched from the Big Bang all the way until Flying Cars are a thing and everything in between. The second workshop involved making drawing robots from household objects and colouring pens. Each creation would then be fitted an electric motor which would allow the robot to move and leave behind beautiful coloured lines in its trail. Once assembled individuals would let loose their drawing robot on a communal canvas creating an abstract masterpiece.

I would definitely take a couple days out of my day job to do this again and I would recommend anyone thinking about volunteering with the iOi to do the same.

On International Volunteer Day, what advice would you give others who want to get into volunteering?

Volunteering is a two-way street. For the time that you put in, you’ll get so much back in return. It’s a great feeling in itself to be a part of a fantastic cause, but you’ll also get to meet new people, learn new skills and also have a lot of fun. Really it’s a win-win situation, and I would definitely recommend anyone who can give up some spare time to find a cause they’re passionate about and find a way to get involved in Volunteering.

If you would like to volunteer with iOi, send Alex, our Volunteer Manager, an email to find out more.

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