Student Volunteering Week: Wednesday - Kyla Smith

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Kyla is the Disability and Mental Health Rep for the Students’ Union. Kyla is involved in many campaigns across the Union which promote positive action around Disability and Mental Health. Kyla also works with different SU and University departments to make improve university experience for more vulnerable students and ensuring they get the support they need.

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because I want to improve my confidence and self-esteam. I have always been low in confidence ever since I was little as the people around me had low expectations of me and my life prospects, due to my visual impairment. Volunteering on a daily basis as the Disability and Mental Health Rep, Peer Mentor and Bath Spa Award Student Leader constantly reminds me on how much I have achieved as an individual and it reminds me how much of a difference (however big or small) I make on the student experience at Bath Spa. 

What have you gained from volunteering/ How have you benefited from volunteering? 

My confidence isn’t where I want it to be but it has improved a lot. I find that I am able to speak to more people on a daily basis and I find that I contribute more to meetings. The experiences I gain of working as a team and working with the SU is something soo valuable to put on my CV as employers will see that I am determined, use my initiative and am an individual that wants to make a difference. 

Why is volunteering important (to you)? 

Volunteering is important for me on a personal level as it helps me to develop my confidence and leadership skills. Volunteering is also very important for me as the skills that I learn are transferable to other jobs I may do in the future. For me, it is not enough to just get qualifications, I need to gain experience as well so then I can get into a job of my choosing and perform to the best of my ability.

What advice would you give to a prospective volunteer?

A big piece of advice I would give to those thinking about volunteering is to just go for what you want to volunteer for. Don’t let any barriers, disabilities or mental health get in the way of what you want to achieve because there are people out there who want to support you in this and they want you to do well. Also, don’t let anyone put you off of volunteering and tell you that you ‘cant’ do something because you can! 

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