Tell us about the Make a Smile, King’s Community Fund project
Make a Smile is a charity across the UK with local chapters and volunteers at different Universities. The volunteers will dress up as well-known children’s characters, like Elsa, Spiderman and Batman, and visit children affected by hardship – this may be visiting children in hospitals, daycares or refugee centres.
It’s an excellent opportunity for energetic and happy students to volunteer, and the inclusive environment welcomes individuals to wear any costume they prefer, use their preferred names/pronouns and fosters a respectful and inclusive atmosphere.
What role did you complete?
I served as the President of the Make a Smile Society. The role varied a lot, from managing behind-the-scenes tasks, communicating with volunteers and partners such as hospitals, and engaging directly with the children. I dressed up as Elsa which was incredible. It was a very rewarding experience to witness the joy it brought to the children – you can see the real-life impact it has on them and the magic it creates.
How did you balance your volunteering alongside your degree and other personal commitments?
I made sure that I set-aside the time for volunteering and scheduled it in as it can be easy to become distracted by other commitments. I am starting a new degree in January and am really excited to resume volunteering.
What main skills have you developed?
Time management, communication and understanding others. As President, I was in a management role and was responsible for creating a good environment where people are happy which was a really good experience for me.
What is one piece of advice that you would offer to other King's students who are thinking about volunteering generally?
Volunteering is such a rewarding experience, please make the time for it. The time can fly so quickly and before you know it, you’re done with university and you may not have the time to volunteer in the future. So, I think students should just believe in themselves, make the time and do it!
Is there anything that you do want to say?
Make a Smile is inclusive and accommodates all volunteer needs – we welcome everyone! Whether you have a physical or mental disability, you’re nervous about getting involved or starting something on your own – please don’t let your concerns hold you back! You should believe in yourself, overcome barriers and embrace the opportunity to be part of a supportive community through volunteering.