By Paul Fox, Hammersmith and Fulham Volunteer
We have more in common
“I used to think of Monday’s as my payback day but now I look forward to it as one of the best days of the week.” My new fellow volunteer Jane spoke for all of us at our recent team debrief.
In the same room were volunteers who had been reading stories to children for 8-10 years with Doorstep Library. They were in no doubt of the joys of visiting families at home each week to share their love of books.
I’m new to this role too and have been struck by the wonderful mix of volunteers. They are all united by a passion for the written word and storytelling but in other ways, we are very different.
Some volunteers are parents, others are grandparents, others have no children of their own. Some have day jobs in fancy international companies others spend their day looking after their own family. And some work for themselves. But storytelling and a love of books and reading brings us together every Monday afternoon – rain, hail or shine. Although this winter it seems to have been mostly wind and rain!
A warm welcome
Regardless of the weather, our families are always happy to welcome us into their homes. Initially strangers to them, over the weeks and months we have gotten to know them and share in their family festivities and anniversaries.
We see their children enjoy our books and look forward to our visits. Many of our families are from different cultures. Volunteers like me might not normally have the chance to meet them, let alone share their homes and learn about their interests. But as volunteer Jane said, we also look forward to meeting them and catching up on their news.
It is such a privilege and a pleasure to be with them in an intimate setting. We might be a different colour or speak different languages. But what strikes me is how similar our ambitions are. We want our children to discover their potential and have the chance to be able to benefit it. Literacy can do that. No wonder Doorstep Library’s tag line is ‘Words take you places’.
Words also take us, volunteers, to places we would not otherwise go. Although I am unpaid I feel richly rewarded in so many other ways and would encourage others to join us on the journey.
To find the best day of the week for you, visit our volunteering page.