Volunteers Case Studies

Kate Childs – Mentor

When the founder and former director of Hull Children’s University, John Butterick, approached BBC Hull in 2011 about the prospect of working with them to create a new module, Kate was asked by her manager to lead the module. After seeing how much the children enjoyed the module and relished the opportunity for extra-curricular learning, Kate decided to volunteer as a mentor for other Hull Children’s University experiences in her own free time.

Since becoming a mentor, Kate has volunteered on a huge variety of experiences, from the locally based Ambassadors of Hull, which sees the children learn more about their city through different activities such as designing and conducting a survey, to the residential Night at the Museum experience which takes the children all the way to London for a sleep over at the Natural History Museum. Her favourite trip so far has been the London with Parliament experience as the long days with lots of walking around London really give the mentors a chance to get to know the children.

Kate has found working as a mentor thoroughly enjoyable and has learnt a great deal about herself through the experience. She would definitely recommend being a mentor to anyone who is looking to help inspire and encourage some of the most deserving children in our area. She believes that by building confidence within children and giving them an insight into experiences they might not otherwise have, it will encourage them to commit more to their studies and see the benefits of their work, which in turn will give them a far greater chance of success in the future.

Ciara O’Neil – Mentor

Ciara studies Education with Social Inclusion and Special Needs. She has been volunteering as a mentor for Hull Children’s University for around six months and has found the experience hugely rewarding. She has mentored on the RSPCA, Paintbox and Digital Art experiences. Ciara has seen how much the children appreciate and enjoy these experiences, and also thinks they are valuable because of the life lessons they teach them. She thinks that the RSPCA experience, which emphasises how to care for animals and treat them, is particularly great at imparting these type of lessons.

These experiences have improved Ciara’s confidence and empathy. She believes it is important to realise that not everyone receives positive experiences when they are younger and working with the Hull Children’s University has helped her truly understand how different people’s lives are. It has also given her the confidence to work with children in more informal settings and has influenced her to volunteer more. Encouraged by her experience with the Hull Children’s University, she has recently applied to be a volunteer with SOVA.

Megan Broadley – Mentor

Megan decided to take up the free elective module ‘Children’s University mentoring’ in the second year of her degree. As part of her free elective, she has mentored on both the Children in Care Digital Art experience and also the Ambassadors of Hull experience. These experiences have offered Megan a chance to expand her range of experience working with children, giving her the chance to interact with an age group that she had not really worked with previously.

Megan has enjoyed working with the charity and believes it is important that the children Hull Children’s University works with get an equal opportunity for a positive future just as much as other children from more affluent areas. Moreover, she would thoroughly recommend it to any other students considering taking the module. She says: ‘If it’s all new to you, give it a go because it’ll be one of the best things you’ve been involved in. There is no better feeling than coming away from an experience knowing you could have made a huge difference in a child’s life!’

Dave Clutterbrook – Mentor

Dave has been working as a mentor for the Hull Children’s University for 10 years now. Back in 1997, when he was working at Smith & Nephew, the company sent round an email asking for volunteers to help with the Hull Children’s University. After listening to the aims and aspirations of the charity, his interest was sparked.

Dave has been on many different classroom and non-classroom based modules over the years and has enjoyed all of them. He believes that these experiences add another dimension to the school experience by improving literacy and numeracy skills, and life experiences outside the classroom.

The benefits of the experiences do not only fall on the children. Dave has found that since starting volunteering with the Hull Children’s University, he has become more confident, out-going and willing to take on new experiences. He feels that if you can be a good listener, and treat the children with an open and positive mind, then both the children and the adult mentors benefit from these experiences.

Daniel Lee – Mentor

Dan is in the second year of his degree in Education Studies with Social Inclusion and Special Needs and decided to take the free elective mentoring module with Hull Children’s University. Although the free elective module only requires mentors to accompany two different experiences as part of the course, Dan has been on far more than this minimum requirement, participating on trips ranging from Paintbox to Heaven to the BAE experience. These experiences have shown Dan how much of a difference it makes to the children the charity works with when they have patient and enthusiastic mentors who are always ready to listen to the children and talk with them too. It’s the small stuff that makes a difference.

Taking part in the Hull Children’s University mentoring module has given Dan a unique experience. As a person who learns best by getting involved and being hands-on, Dan feels that being a mentor has helped his studies by providing engaging, real-life experience. Furthermore, as he contemplates what he is going to do after he graduates, volunteering as a mentor helps feed into the bigger picture of post-university working life.