Volunteering: an experience of a lifetime
14th Apr 2014
The London 2012 Olympics has left a legacy for volunteering with the Game Makers. Volunteering opens the door to a variety of opportunities in different fields. As an interpreter, following a successful volunteering opportunity in London 2012, I was hungry for more opportunities to expand my experience. I heard about the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
It’s one thing to go and do volunteering in the Olympics, but to travel to Belfast and volunteer in a city that I didn’t know was an experience. I was a volunteer welcoming over 7,000 competitors from 67 world countries and the world's third largest international games. The WPFG is an event for serving and retired police, fire, prison and border security officers comprising a wide range of individual and team sports.
I was one of 3,500 volunteers at the WPFG and my role was to ensure the competitors were successfully registered and obtaining their passes. Like my NPC Assistant role (National Paralympic Community Assistant) in the 2012 Games, my interpreting skills were utilised to help the competitors get around the venue and in the Games. I was delegated to look after an Indian National Police officer, who did not speak any English. When not with the officer, I was helping French firemen with their games. By giving me the responsibility to ensure I looked after the competitors, I was given the opportunity to find out about their roles in their native countries. I enjoyed my volunteering role and travelling to Northern Ireland gave me an insight into what life is like there and I was felt welcome by the local community.
Volunteering is for people who want an opportunity to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For many as I mentioned above, it is a chance to expand their skills. For me, volunteering is all about networking and meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and building on my current skills as an interpreter. I would encourage everyone to at least take up the opportunity to volunteer once in their lifetime. The skills and experience one can be exposed to is an opportunity of a lifetime. I know look forward to my next opportunity to volunteer.
Above all, although I was given two opportunities of a lifetime, I would like to pay a special thanks to Pearl Linguistics, my humble appreciation for allowing me to take time with these opportunities because I think this has given me greater confidence and the London 2012 has certainly left a legacy in my heart to continue volunteering in the future as much as I can.
Krishna Lodhia, Gujarati, French Interpreter (full time)
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