Welcome back to our Step it Up Campaign, where our aim is to inspire others to become more active in charity work by sharing stories of social responsibility.
Meet Annie Brooks
Annie is one of the two directors of Director of Sister Snog (www.sistersnog.com) a business club for women who want to stop networking and start connecting. She has been involved in a variety of charity work for some time.
What you do for charities?
“I’ve done several things over the years. First, I am a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company and have been working with schoolchildren on a Financial Literacy Course when we set up a company to sell greetings cards. I’ve also been a mentor for Kids Company to a 12 year old girl, and was a Games Maker for London 2012 Olympic Games.”
How did this happen?
“I started working with schoolchildren through my Livery Company: I volunteered for the Outreach programme and got to choose what I did. With the Kids Company I received comprehensive training and a CRB check, and again applied directly for the Games Maker position, going through the interviewing process.”
Why is this a good fit for you?
“They’re all quite different things. I loved working with the children on setting up a business and helping them learn about the various roles, but when I applied to Kids Company this was because I thought ‘there for the Grace of God go I’. I was born in Bermondsey, South East London to wonderful parents who, although they didn’t have a lot of money certainly made up for it with their love and attention to my needs. A lot of the children at the Kids Company were also born in SE London however their parents and my parents are poles apart. Unfortunately there are many parents with their own issues that distract them from the needs of their children. So I wanted to help these children as I really felt an empathy with them and felt like I was ‘one of them’ because of my link of being born in the same area (sometimes even the same hospital!) as they were, although my parents were really very different to theirs.”
Finally, as a Londoner, born and bred, I was so excited about the Olympic Games coming to my home town. I was proud of what I believed we would achieve. Unlike many of the naysayers I really wanted to be a part of this amazing extravaganza that was going to be taking place. This really was a once in a lifetime opportunity to show off the best city and country in the world. I wasn’t disappointed was I?”
What have you gotten out of it?
“A great sense of satisfaction when you see results. With the school children, the first year I did this my group won the ‘Apprentice type’ competition that was held and it’s great to know that you’ve made a difference to the children that you are working with. I’ve been able to pass on my skills and learning to the next generation which is also one of our aims as a Livery Company – educating the next generation.
Spending time with my mentee that perhaps her parents couldn’t do allowed her to be a 12 year old. She felt quite responsible for her family, even though she was the youngest. So we would spend time on activities that she wanted to do whenever I saw her. This made me happy to be able to do something like this for a young girl. I enjoyed her company and learning all about her life and what she liked to do and what made her tick. And just being there for her.
The Olympic Games was really one of the best things I’ve ever been involved in. It was such a fun thing to do. I was on the Events Team which meant I was either front of house looking after visitors to the events or back of house looking after the athletes. Dealing with the general public was my favourite part as they were visitors to my home town and I was only too pleased to welcome them and keep them safe and be a part of their overall experience and enjoyment of the Games. It was amazing to be a part of this fantastic event. And not only that I made some lovely friends who I’m still in touch with as we’re approaching the next Olympics in 2016!”
What’s your advice to anyone thinking of doing this?
“Do it! I truly believe that you’ll get a lot out of it. Obviously do something which you enjoy doing and which will interest you. Because it has to be fun and enjoyable otherwise you may not stick with it. The other thing I would say is that you have to treat it seriously, just like paid work. You must be reliable because as a volunteer you have a responsibility to the organisation you are working for. Your job as a volunteer is to make life easier for them, not harder (by being unreliable).”
Please check back often for more Step it Up interviews,
and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!