Hi my name is Latisha and I am in my third and final year studying Business Management at Kingston University. On 14th August 2012 I volunteered to help out on a Student-Led Volunteering project - the concept of which was a Caribbean Culture Day for young teenagers with Afro-Caribbean heritage.
The day started at 9am in Hackney, where I met up with Nadine (the project leader and fellow Kingston University student), the other volunteers and the young teenagers taking part in the project. When everyone arrived, I helped to escort the teenagers to the Tabernacle (an iconic music and arts venue), situated in West London. Thankfully, my travel expenses were covered by KUSU Volunteering!
The Caribbean Culture Day was split into three activities. The first activity consisted of Soca dancing, whereby the teenagers took part in a dance workshop taught by MLM (Muzik Lil Muzik). They first learnt a bit about Soca music and the annual Notting Hill Carnival, before taking part in a warm up session to get them ready for the dance choreography which followed after. I made sure everyone kept hydrated by giving out cups of water. I also got to take part in the dance workshop! The choreography was amazing and once mastered everyone did a cooling down session.
In order to adhere to the Caribbean concept, Caribbean cuisine was also provided; my lunch was again paid for by KUSU Volunteering! Providing a Caribbean lunch was a great idea - not only were the children learning about Caribbean culture throughout the day, but they also got a taste of it! There was rice and peas, salad, chicken, and a tasty fruit punch to wash it all down. Thankfully the weather was lovely so we were able to sit outside the venue and eat.
Each volunteer choose a group to help. I helped the group that had the letter A and concept Agility. My group had to design the letter A on a big piece of paper ensuring that it also showed the concept of agility. This was my favourite part of the day as it brought out the creativity in me! You could see everyone was thoroughly enjoying the day. Each group had a chance to show each other their work which involved a lot of cheering and clapping followed by a little break for everyone to rest.
The last event was Steelpan playing. The children first listened to the history of the steelpan and Soca musica, before watching the professional Mangrove Mas Band play. The kids then got the chance to play and record themselves playing the steel pans. Considering the fact that none of them had played steelpans before, they were all quite good for first-timers! The day ended a little after 6pm - we all took pictures outside the venue and then escorted the children back to Hackney. Check out the photos from the day on the KUSU Volunteering Facebook Page.
I enjoyed taking part in the Caribbean Culture Day, as it taught me more about my culture and was great to see the young teenagers so interested in their heritage. From previously volunteering in a school, I love helping and working with children and from the sound of it I knew this event would be interesting and enjoyable. Volunteering is a way of giving back and helping others. You get to experience a different environment and meet new people who can be inspiring and motivational! I would definitely recommend volunteering to anybody. This experience has made me want to continue volunteering in schools and helping people with disabilities. The whole project as a whole has also inspired me to do my own Student-Led Volunteering project. In what, I am unsure, but I’m meeting Jemma Houghton one of the Volunteering Coordinators from KUSU Volunteering soon to talk about it further, so I will keep you posted!