What Volunteering Means To Me: Joanna Afroozi

Posted by theministry on 22nd February 2023

“I find my Saturdays more fulfilling and my mornings quite animated”


Joanna Afroozi

Volunteer role:

Writing Mentor

Hail from:


What made you want to start volunteering?

I have wanted to volunteer since I was small but there was never a practical opportunity to do so. I either lacked time due to school/exams or I was turned away due to my age. I knew volunteering would help others a lot and would be incredibly fulfilling and would let me gain great experience, even if I could not work yet.

What is your highlight of volunteering?

My highlight of volunteering was my first session. I was introduced to the children and was excited to embark on something new and community-oriented.  Filming the children’s performances for Ha Ha Hackney was very memorable; seeing all they had worked on come together was a proud moment. And to add, being introduced to the community of writing mentors and to their larger-than-life characters, left me with a sense of belonging.

What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learnt/ gained while volunteering?

An unexpected thing I have learnt through volunteering is how to better manage my time. I have become better at handling my free time in a productive manner. Through being a mentor, I have met friendly like-minded people. Volunteering leaves a typical day decorated with an unexpected splash of colour.

Has volunteering changed anything in your life?

Volunteering has made changes in my life. I find my Saturdays (when I typically volunteer) more fulfilling and my mornings quite animated. The safeguarding training we received makes me feel more equipped to help out vulnerable children, even if they cannot express what bothers them. The effort everyone contributes to the sessions, knowing all of it can amount to big projects like filming, premieres and showcases, is uplifting. I am left content with the knowledge that I am truly doing something good for society and my community.

What difference does volunteering make in your community?

I can happily say volunteering makes an unquantifiable difference in the community. The work of volunteers embellish the area and people in it. It powers school clubs, soup kitchens, community centres, support for the elderly and a number of other unmentioned facilities. It’s brilliant that so many people feel the need to put in time and effort to make good changes. It leaves many, myself included, very hopeful as to what the future may look like.

Top tips for someone who wants to become a writing mentor?

Consider yourself a springboard for the children; bouncing ideas back and forth with them, giving them all the necessary support and pushing them to their full potential. And don’t shy away from presenting your character! All the young writers are lovely and lively and appreciate their mentors being true to themselves personality-wise. It brings a buzz to the sessions with so many characters interacting with one another.


Interested in volunteering?

We’re running our next training session on March 31st. Sign-up below to find out more


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