Minister of the Month – Daisy Reid
Meet our Minister of the Month Daisy Reid. We like to take fun seriously at MoS and writing Mentor Daisy really embodies this ethos.
Her mentoring is always accompanied by the sound of laughter and she finds real joy in children’s imaginations. Her obvious enthusiasm motivates our young writers to push their ideas even further. Outside of mentoring, Daisy has also helped us to fundraise, sharing her excitement about children’s writing with many potential donors. As she she heads off to Amsterdam for a year, we’d like to say: “Daisy, the Ministry salutes you!”.
Name: Daisy Reid
Volunteer role: Writing mentor and monster shopkeeper
Lives: Amsterdam (at the moment)
Favourite story and why:
Nida, one of the Ministry’s young writers, did a wonderful piece about a girl who was a painter. In the story, she used different coloured paints depending on what her mood was at the time. If she was feeling sad she’d paint in blues and blacks and when she was feeling happy, she’d paint in a whole rainbow of colours. There was another story that began with the line “this story is like a dream you once had”, magical!
If we’re talking about my favourite story of all time, it would have to be One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’ve just moved to the Netherlands to do my masters in Comparative Literature at the University of Amsterdam. Before that, I lived in London for six years and volunteered at the Ministry of Stories for nearly two years. When I’m not mentoring or studying, I’m a translator and proofreader on a freelance basis. When I’m not doing any of those things, I’m usually walking the streets looking lost, reading, watching films with my housemates or making last-minute trips to far-flung places.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?
After I had finished my bachelor’s degree, I spent a summer teaching primary school children before starting a full-time job in the city. As soon as I began my job in the ‘real world’ I realised that I missed teaching – and the learning that goes alongside it – more than anything, so I looked around for volunteering opportunities to keep myself sane in a world of spreadsheets, numbers and conference rooms.
I stumbled across the Ministry quite by accident but it seemed to encompass everything that I loved: creativity, teaching, books and a sense of humour. The rest is history!
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
Definitely. I think everyone is nervous before their first session.
All new volunteers presume that the young people aren’t going to engage with them because they are new and weird, or that they will ‘mess it up’ in some way. I was no different, but it’s such a welcoming environment, so my fears were entirely unfounded. It’s now one of my absolute favourite places to be.
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
There have been so many! One of the children wrote a rap battle between two whales for Hoxton Museum of the Future project and someone recorded it on a real backing track, complete with cheers and whoops from an audience.
A guy came into the museum, listened to it and immediately wanted to be introduced to the artist in question. It turned out he was the owner of a record shop down the road and was so impressed he wanted to shake his hand in person.
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
The fact that you miss it so much when you can’t make it for a few weeks! I didn’t expect to be wishing away my Saturday lie-in in favour of hanging out with ten year olds, but these things sneak up on you.
Has volunteering changed anything in your life?
Definitely. It gives you such an insight into how our world works. Seeing it through the eyes of such a diverse, talented and hilarious group of children gives you such a different perspective. It makes you see the world in a completely different way.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:
Wonderful, hilarious, extraordinary.
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
Why would you even hesitate? I’m missing it already.