Charity Diary

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that is a Bcorp  (benefit corporation that balances purpose with profit). This means that all full-time employees volunteer one day a month at a local charity. This month I posted on my company website what I got up to and thought I would share it here too.

‘What does it mean to reduce?’ I enthusiastically asked the class of learners.

‘To cut down,’ one student chirped.

I proceeded to speak about the importance of using less and being resourceful – the most important step in the waste hierarchy.

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I was mid way through a presentation for students at the Harrington scheme.

This month I spent my volunteering day teaching young adults with learning difficulties about recycling. I began with some shocking images of plastics in rivers. Students said, ‘that’s horrible.’

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We then went on to look at what recycling is, what we can recycle and what happens with paper once it is collected.

I brought in waste items and asked students to chose which bin they thought they should go in.

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I explained my magic trick – ‘If you can turn an item upside down, put it over your head and nothing nasty falls out, it can go in the recycling bin!’

A couple of learners came up with some wonderful ideas of what we could do with our old cardboard boxes. One young man said we could plant a seed in it using our food compost. What a marvellous idea. The Harrington Scheme has beautiful gardens that learners help in.

The lesson lasted an hour. I used short, simple sentences and asked lots of questions to keep everyone engaged. Having a visual presentation that I pre-planned was really useful as it helped keep the lesson on track.  If ever questions or comments were made that were on a tangent, I would steer the conversation back to recycling by using stories or analogies.

At lunch I kicked the football around with learners and enjoyed sitting outside in the stunning walled garden that the Harrington Scheme maintains themselves.

In the afternoon, there was an art lesson I helped with. We drew butterflies and learners decorated them with colourful tissue paper and glitter. These will be hung up in the local church.

It was then time for a quick break before I gave another recycling lesson to 25- 30 learners and additional staff.

I really enjoyed my day and am looking forward to going back next month to see how the recycling is going!

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