Mark Gurin, Young Ambassador, 17 years old; started his volunteer role in July 2016 aged 16. Mark works with the Fair Havens kitchen staff every Sunday.
Why did you decide to volunteer, what made you want to join Young Ambassadors?
I first heard about the scheme from my mother’s friend and I thought I’d never done anything like this. It was a new experience which I was definitely excited about.
Another reason is I’m hoping to have a career in medicine so I wanted to get experience of caring for people and catering for their needs in that way because that will be very important for my future career. I wanted to see how well I could adapt to different situations and also improve these set of skills as they’re not just applicable for a medical career, but also throughout your life.
What are your duties in your role?
I work in the Fair Havens kitchen; so with that I sometimes take the orders from the patients, talk to them if they want to talk and also help prepare the meals and tidy-up. I’ve mainly worked in the kitchen, but there are times when you need to assist the patients or talk to them. I really do enjoy that part of the role.
What’s your favourite thing about being a volunteer?
This is going to sound slightly clichéd, but I think that it’s the feeling that I’m doing something important and that I’m helping people in what I do. There’s nothing else where you really feel like you’re doing something useful and that you’re definitely making a difference within the society you live and the community, that’s definitely an aspect I enjoy.
It’s also very rewarding for me when I come back every week, in my case, and I see the patients and families who I’ve seen previously and they are happy to see me, that’s an experience which I really appreciate and that feeling of making a difference for the patients is really good.
Why do you continue to give up your time for Havens Hospices? What motivates you to keep volunteering?
This experience has been extremely transformative for me on a personal level. When I first started volunteering I didn’t have very good social skills; you know, I wasn’t brilliant at interacting with the hospice staff or patients, but this scheme has helped me develop those skills and I can now talk to people much more confidently. I have taught myself how to interact and talk with patients and people in general.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity I was given and I feel that it is definitely helping me personally. I do also enjoy what I do here, I like the feeling of helping people and providing care when it’s absolutely necessary, it’s a very rewarding position.
If you were speaking to one of your friends about volunteering, how would you describe your experience to them and why should people volunteer?
I think that there’s no reason why anyone, if they have the time, should not volunteer. I think every person can get something different out of it whether it’s personal skills, whether it’s the idea of giving much-needed support to people, whether it’s just the experiences which you gain from it, the things you see or learn can be very interesting.
I just think it’s a different adventure in life, and you should get as many of these as you can and it is definitely something to try if you have the time because you’re not only helping yourself, you’re also serving the community.
The work that the Young Ambassadors do here is really appreciated, I know, and if you want to make a difference then this is definitely something you should consider because it is not much of your time for a big change.
For more information on our Young Ambassadors project click here