Bruno Rodriguez; a volunteer from Ecuador, has written a blog post all about his time volunteering at Streetlife in Blackpool, UK and it is really inspiring! Keep reading to find out what he has to say!
How did you find orientation, what did you do?
I found orientation quite a good idea. It made people from all over the world mix together and not just between people from their own countries. It made us realize that each of us will be out of our comfort zone until we adapt to our placements.
We were taught about basic rules form Lattitude and about the objective for us as volunteers, representing our own countries, and an organization that gave us the support to be able to volunteer for a specific time. Making clear the importance of the impression we leave to others.
What is your volunteering placement and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Streetlife is an organisation that caters for homeless young people between 16 and 25 years old in Blackpool. The day duties that me and the other four international volunteers share are mostly divided in 3. The first one is the reception shift, which is the one where we arrange appointments for people that want to be in charge of food, toiletry or clothes donations within other activities. Second, the drop-in session, consists in allowing the young people that are requiring our service come into our base, where they have access to a hot meal that has no cost for them, pool table and computers where they can do any work they need. In the base each young person after accessing gets an interview with a trained worker about their progress, and how else can Streetlife encourage them properly to achieve their goal in life. And finally this one is at least for me the most important to keep in a proper and constant functioning. The Streetlife night shelter, where we provide eight separate bedrooms, gives the opportunity to have a hot meal and a friendly environment to our young homeless people. There are also other random activities, usually trips that workers organize for our young people to entertain or learn about a specific topic.
What is the best part about your volunteering placement?
The interaction of cultures between all kinds of different people, from international volunteers to homeless young people.
Being able to see that the things we see on movies are not just made up by someone, and that there are many people that find themselves in awful situations and really need help of professionals. It is really touching for us the fact of seeing people arrive to our service in awful conditions, and then see them sorted on their own property, with job and more productive habits.
Being around people that we aren’t used to hanging out with, has helped us to learn a lot about ourselves.
What skills have you gained from your placement?
Organisation, how to lead a group, get respect without any superiority complex and especially how to communicate with people, being aware that the way we talk with others, can change the complete sense of the message in a positive and in a negative way.
What have you been doing in your free time?
My first objective has always been try to travel every time I get the chance, in and outside the UK, also practice languages with housemates, learning how to play the guitar, meeting knew people, organizing future things for once I finish my time on this placement, and many other daily stuff which change pretty much every week.
Would you recommend Lattitude?
I would definitely recommend volunteering in Blackpool to people once I get back home, as an opportunity to learn about real life placements, and having the opportunity to do it while travelling.
If you’re inspired by Bruno’s story then take a look at our website here to see what opportunities we are offering!