Last summer I gave up 4 weeks of my holiday to volunteer at a local summer sports school which I have attended from a young age. I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to combine volunteering with my love of sport. For the 4 weeks I was assigned a group of children to be a leader of and luckily in the final 2 weeks I was assigned the role of paying careful attention to two children with behavioural and physical disabilities and ensuring they were able to fully participate in all the brilliant activities.
Although this was a very challenging position (of which all the other staff were very complementary on how I coped – I even earned myself an extra freddo at the end of the week) I started to enjoy the opportunity, developing a good relationship with the two children who had a brilliant sense of humour. The young boy had hearing and speech difficulties so learning to comprehend what he was saying was an onerous task but I was personally impressed at how quickly I adapted and began to communicate with him well (unlike many of the other members of staff who continued to struggle). I feel this enabled him to feel comfortable and confident in an unfamiliar environment with a large group of children with a wide range of ages. I also had the opportunity to support him in activities such as swimming which enabled me to offer guidance and develop my communication skills in a particularly challenging environment (especially as the pool was full with 40 more children!). An important aspect of my role was to maintain contact with their parents, reporting on how their behaviour had been throughout the day and how much they had participated in activities. I believe these communicative skills are an important aspect of the qualities a good doctor should have, and this opportunity has developed them in me.
My employer said:
“Lauren demonstrated impressive personal qualities such as tolerance and patience. She remained calm but assertive, maintaining her friendly manner throughout. Her mature, common sense approach led her to seek advice and assistance when needed but it was her own determination and resilience which created a successful outcome for the child in her care. Furthermore, she showed the initiative to liaise confidently with the boy’s parent, dealing effectively with their enquiries. ”
The highlight of my experience was at the end of the 2 week period, the farewell and thanks from both the children and parents made me feel that the strenuous task had been completely worthwhile.
I hope to have many more experiences working alongside a varied group of people to develop my communication and leadership skills further.
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