SEVENTEEN-year-old student Dariush Khodakhah is speaking out about his fulfilling experience volunteering for the learning disability charity Hft in Leeds as he encourages others to donate some of their time this Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June).
The A-Level student started volunteering at the Hft service in Leeds in January, accompanying the learning disabled people supported by the charity on walks and hikes each week.
Dariush first got involved in volunteering with Hft after he saw an opportunity posted on a third-party volunteering website. He was motivated to do so by the idea of improving his interpersonal skills and to further develop his empathy.
“The charity is the perfect place to do this, as it provides ample opportunities to get involved.”
He also notes how volunteering has helped build his confidence.
Dariush spends much of his volunteering time attending walks with supported individuals and, every other week, he and the service join the Leeds Ramblers, a local walking group, on their walks.
“I socialise with the men and am a friendly face they can expect to see every week.”
One of Dariush’s favourite moments of volunteering with Hft happened while out on one of the longer walks.
“There was a horse that was poking its head from above the fence, and all the individuals lit up at seeing the horse so close, admiring its beauty.
“On another week, we went to the National Rail Museum in York, and the awe and wonder displayed by the entire group is a memory I shall cherish.”
Dariush has received some fantastic feedback for his generosity, including hearing how he gets along very well with Hft colleagues, and being told he is ‘very cool’ by one of the people Hft supports!
He is set to continue volunteering with Hft whilst he studies for his A-Levels and continues to move towards his dream of studying medicine at university.
For anyone who is considering volunteering for Hft, but hasn’t yet made the leap, Dariush says, ‘do it!’
“The individuals are lovely, the colleagues are very open and genial, and you will leave feeling very fulfilled.”
Find out more about our volunteering opportunities via the Hft website, or by emailing National Volunteer Manager Liz Knott (firstname.lastname@example.org).