The future is bright and JVN orange at the JFS 6th Form Volunteering Fair

Mike, JVN intern

In a special feature, JVN’s intern Mike revisits his old school with fantastic results…

When I left JFS four-and-a-half years ago, the last thing I expected was that I would be back so soon to give a presentation about the benefits of volunteering.  Yet two weeks ago this was exactly where I found myself – in my old school theatre, up on the podium, staring out at a veritable sea of 300 Year 12 students!

Sea of JFS 6th Formers

The reason for my sudden promotion from ‘student’ to ‘special visitor’ was the JFS 6th Form Volunteering Fair. The fairs have been successful in the past in JFS and other schools, with hundreds of students signing up to volunteering opportunities.  However, this year, JFS and the JiEP department had something special planned – every Year 12 student was to sign up to two one-off opportunities to be completed in the next few months.  This was a challenge JVN could not refuse!  After weeks of organising and dozens of e-mails and phone calls we were ready.

The day began at 10:30am, when the charities started arriving to set up in the theatre.  Eleven charities joined us offering one-off opportunities and were given a stall where they could entice the students with bunting, banners and, in some cases, balloons into their one-off opportunities and their longer-term projects.  Soon after the students filed in and Zak Jeffay, head of JiEP, opened the fair explaining what it was, what the students had to do and a bit about who the ‘special visitors’ were.

Tzedek meets JFS

Then it was then my turn to introduce the students to volunteering.  I had specially modified a presentation created by Joanne and told them about how volunteering is good for the mind, body and soul, how it is encouraged by Jewish values, and how even one-off volunteering can make a huge difference.  It felt very strange being the teacher instead of the pupil at JFS, but my presentation seemed to go down really well  The final thing the students needed to do before they could really get involved was collect a booklet I’d made explaining a bit about the charities present: JLGB, Jewish Care, Tikun, Maccabi GB, Kisharon, GIFT, AJR, Tzedek, Norwood and, in a very timely capacity, Mitzvah Day, which was only five days later.  We were also pleased to introduce, for the first time at a 6th Form Fair, Jewish Book Week.

Mitzvah Day meets JFS

It wasn’t long before the room was buzzing, the students eager to get involved and give back to the Jewish community.  It was great to have some of them come up to me and Leonie to ask if they could volunteer on a longer-term basis or if they could sign up for more than two opportunities.  One girl even said she had previously registered on the JVN website, was receiving our e-mails and was already a keen volunteer!  The charities were certainly not let down by the level of interest and enthusiasm, and each one came away with a hefty list of students.

Happy JVN & JFS 6th Form Volunteering Fair!

Only time will tell just exactly how successful the fair was this year and how many students continue their volunteering after completing their one-off opportunities, but the feedback we have had from JiEP and the charities has been extremely encouraging.  JVN will be organising similar fairs in the other London Jewish schools in January and possibly pushing into the regions as well.  

With the launch of the Yoni Jesner Award Scheme and a trip up to the King David Campus in Liverpool, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with schools to make volunteering both fun and accessible to students.  The fact that so many young people (in which I must include myself!) are interested in volunteering this academic year, either in the Yoni Jesner Award, our 6th Form Fairs or our internship opportunities page shows that the future’s bright.  And, with JVN at the helm, it is most certainly orange too!

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Categories: JVN News, Uncategorized, Volunteering Events

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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  1. JVN’s Intern Mike says goodbye (almost!) | The Jewish Volunteering Network Blog - January 20, 2012

    […] I won’t be disappearing entirely and will be around for the next few months to help out with the Sixth Form Volunteering Fairs, the Yoni Jesner Award Scheme and the work that JVN does to help the JCLG with the London 2012 […]

  2. Pledge the gift of time (Eric Pickles MP did!) – JVN goes to Jewish Living Expo 2012 | The Jewish Volunteering Network Blog - March 22, 2012

    […] day at the Jewish Living Expo meeting what seemed like the entire community.  JVN has often done school and other small volunteering fairs, but never anything on this […]

  3. A degree of uncertainty – how internships changed my life | The Jewish Volunteering Network Blog - April 12, 2012

    […] a few well-deserved months of travelling. Whether it’s been the Yoni Jesner Awards or school 6th Form volunteering fairs – Mike has made a great contribution to JVN.  For his goodbye, we couldn’t help asking […]

  4. Volunteering in Schools: Ticking the Box is Not Enough | The Jewish Volunteering Network Blog - March 15, 2013

    […] schools. Volunteering is encouraged more and more in our community’s schools. Enrichment days and Sixth Form volunteering fairs are run by JVN and JLGB in all the mainstream Jewish secondary schools in London, and JVN is […]

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