Volunteer Co-ordinator, Cara Jones, chats to Natalia Lopes, one of Devon Air Ambulance's fantastic student volunteers. Here's what Natalie had to say about her experience with the charity.
How did you hear about Devon Air Ambulance?
I originally heard about Devon Air Ambulance from my mother-in-law, who moved to Devon from the Midlands,. She was a member of the Women's Institute, an organisation that often promotes events together with DAAT.
What inspired you to volunteer for Devon Air Ambulance?
After I'd arrived in England from Brazil, one of the first things that I noticed was how volunteering was such an important institution. I started noticing how many events and organisations were made a reality inspired by the desire of volunteers to work to contribute to a better society. I too felt an urge to be a part of the movement and to connect to the community in which I live.
What are you studying while volunteering for DAAT?
I'm studying IT Skills and Administration. It can be challenging to fit in studying, working and being a volunteer, but once I organised my life and created a proper schedule, my commitments to the causes I believed in helped me to feel rewarded and fulfilled.
What are your future aspirations?
My future aspirations are to become fully-integrated into the community where I live and to feel that I am making a positive impact on the people around me, alongside pursuing a career as an Administrative Assistant or Secretary.
What do you think are the main benefits of volunteering for Devon Air Ambulance?
There are a lot of benefits to volunteering in general, and more specifically for DAAT. My experience has given me the opportunity to improve my social and communication skills, develop my sense of teamwork and leadership, and it has introduced me to new people who share similar passions and values.
But the main benefits of volunteering for DAAT is that you know your work, time and efforts are going towards a cause that impact the health and well-being of your community, and that everyone who is involved with the charity has the same ambition to positively contribute to the people of Devon by using their abilities. It is a passion you can see in every single one of the employees, supporters and volunteers.
How has volunteering helped you to get closer to your goals?
I believe that by working within a charity as a volunteer you can employ your personal abilities to bring about great results. That in itself is already fulfilling, but also you are introduced to new people, new ideals and new approaches that can only improve your chances of creating the building blocks for your career, and enhancing your professional as well as your personal life.
What advice would you give to any students thinking about volunteering?
Just do it! You will only receive positive outcomes from the experience. Volunteering will introduce you to people with a similar mindset to you and you'll experience the rewards of contributing to your community as well as having a healthy impact on your professional skills and development.
Are you a volunteer who would like to share your experience with Devon Air Ambulance? Do drop us a line; we're always keen to share inspiring stories.
If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Devon Air Ambulance Volunteer then do contact us on 01392 466666 or complete our contact form for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!