As part of national Volunteers’ Week (1-12 June) lifelong Osmond fan, Catrina, is championing for more people to get involved in supporting us through volunteering.
Catrina Marsh from Exeter has volunteered for us for the past year. We are one of the oldest charities in the city, and the only specialist day and residential Deaf education provider in the South West. We run a school and college in a bilingual English and British Sign Language (BSL) environment. Deaf students join us from throughout the UK, and those learning in mainstream schools and colleges are also supported through an outreach service.
Osmonds fan, Catrina was inspired to volunteer for us after she was looking for opportunities to make a difference in her local community.
Catrina said, ‘I have always wanted to support the Deaf community. Actually, as a child I was a big fan of the Osmonds, I still am! The two eldest members of the Osmond family were born Deaf. Not many people know that the pop group was originally formed to pay for their hearing aids. When I was looking for volunteering opportunities in Exeter, the Deaf Academy really appealed to me. I knew I would get a great sense of achievement in being able to give time towards supporting Deaf students in education.’
As a charity, we rely on volunteers to support our busy fundraising team and no day is the same.
Catrina said, ‘My volunteer role is really broad. On one day I could be visiting local businesses to service collection tins or selling car raffle tickets in the city centre. On another day I’ll be helping out with office admin and contacting our lovely supporters’.
‘Playing a part in the Deaf Academy’s flagship fundraising event, Exeter Street Slide, was an amazing experience last year. I did everything from running up and down Fore Street with inflatable lilos for people to slide down the hill on, to cheering the public at the end of the slide. It was such a community and team spirited event and I can’t wait to volunteer again this autumn’.
Prior to joining us as a volunteer, Catrina felt she had limited computer skills, but with support from staff, her skills and confidence with IT have flourished. Catrina has also been learning some British Sign Language.
She said, ‘The Deaf community is such a welcoming and friendly environment and I have learnt valuable basic communication skills that have enabled me to be a part of it. Everyone who joins the Deaf Academy, whether as a volunteer or staff, are treated equally and as one of the Deaf Academy family’.
Catrina continued, ‘I also found I brought many skills with me that are appreciated by the Deaf Academy’s fundraising team. I get a great sense of achievement in being able to help others. I meet such a great variety of people and often once they hear all about what Exeter Deaf Academy do, people often want to support us and get involved in some way themselves’.
The most important part about volunteering for Catrina, is the impact her volunteering has on those she gives her time to.
Catrina said, ‘If anyone is considering volunteering, I would say just DO IT! The time that I spend with Exeter Deaf Academy, is time well spent and really does feel like it makes a difference to the Deaf young people and to me.’
‘I recently celebrated one year of volunteering for the Deaf Academy with a huge chocolate cake. It has been a fun journey and one that I hope will continue for years to come’.
National Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of volunteers like Catrina make to charities and non-profit organisations across the UK. It runs until 12 June and is a chance to try out volunteering for yourself.
We are looking for volunteers to help beat a local charity record for the number of car raffle tickets sold as part of the Princesshay shopping centre ‘2016 Charity of the Year’. Mercedes-Benz of Exeter has generously donated a car as the raffle prize to raise thousands of pounds for us.
We now need volunteers to give just 3 hours or whatever time they can spare on a Friday or Saturday to help sell the car raffle tickets in Princesshay, Exeter.
No previous experience is needed to volunteer, just enthusiasm and confidence talking to the public. Full information and support will be provided. Volunteers must be 16 years and over or accompanied by an adult. To sign up visit: exeterdeafacademy.ac.uk/volunteer,email the Exeter Deaf Academy fundraising team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01392 267019.