Before University I had never had the chance to volunteer and so upon arriving it was right atop my to-do list of things I wanted to try in my first year (along with passing my course naturally). I had always enjoyed spending time with children but never had many opportunities before leaving home. Keeping this in mind I decided that I wanted to gain experience with children through my volunteering.

Over the summer I was directed to the YUSU societies and volunteering web page. This allowed me to view all the available charities and volunteer groups the university supported and make a list of the ones that interested me, KEEN of course being one of them. I was properly introduced to KEEN at the freshers fair. The volunteers at the freshers fair were helpful but moreover, they were entirely enthusiastic about KEEN and this suggested to me that the organization was something that those involved in came to be hugely passionate about. This helped me make up my mind and choose KEEN as my university volunteering venture.

When I first arrived at the session I was nervous due to my lack of experience with children and didn't know quite what to say or do. However, the other volunteers made sure that I was able to fit right in from the start. KEEN provides new volunteers with an incredibly lighthearted and welcoming environment from the beginning making it easy to interact with the other volunteers. This welcoming attitude is also embraced by the children that frequent the KEEN sessions, as they always welcome new volunteers with open arms.

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The flow of each session was easy to get into and the children demonstrate clear enjoyment of the games played each week, whether it be Wink Murder, which will always offer a new tale of woe with each game, Races which would make the Ministry of silly walks envious due to the various ways concocted for us all to get from one side of the hall to the other or Musical Bumps in which more surrendering to gravity takes place than actual dancing.

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After several months as a volunteer at KEEN, I have to say that my favourite game must be Sharks and Lifeguards, regardless of whether the Sharks steal my shoes before pulling me under the parachute with them.

While I may still be undecided as to what clear path I want my future to take, I know that my time and experiences at KEEN in my first year have given me a real love of volunteering and I shall endeavor to include it in my life wherever I end up.

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