By Nathen Thwaites, a ReadUp volunteer from Robert Clack 6th Form.

I’ve been a ReadUp volunteer since 2015 and it’s been a very beneficial experience and one I'm grateful to take part in. As someone who wants to go into teaching in the future, I saw this as a great chance to gain some experience as well as to make a difference to a young child’s life…and I haven’t been proven wrong!

I can remember being nervous - yet eager – to start ReadUp, but knowing that you’re part of a charity, especially one which is there for you every step of the way, really gives you a boost of confidence when you first step into the school.

The first meeting with the children is a great chance to get to know one another and after just a few sessions, a bond really begins to form and it becomes easy to talk and interact with them. Something I found challenging to begin with was having to change my approach to reading with both students, as both had very different temperaments, but it was an invigorating feeling when I found what each child really engaged in.

Fast forward a few months and it’s already noticeable what an effect we’ve had on the progression of the children’s reading skills and confidence. They would tell us about their improvements in the classroom and how much they were enjoying new books they were reading at home, knowing how much of an influence you have had on their attitude towards reading is extremely rewarding and motivating.

After several months of being involved with ReadUp, I also came to notice improvements in my own abilities as well. As someone who was always very shy at school I noticed a great improvement in my own confidence, something I knew I needed to improve in order to become a teacher myself.  As well as this, you also gain a great amount of work experience, which really helps when applying for jobs and universities.

To anyone who is thinking of doing some volunteering in their local community, I can’t recommend ReadUp enough! It really is a very enjoyable volunteering experience and I feel proud knowing that I’m helping children who deserve every opportunity given to them.

Beanstalk is proud to support the #iwillweek campaign and pledge to engage 1,000 young people in local social action, such as ReadUp. Ask your school or college to get involved in ReadUp by contacting us today!