DigiLocal People – Souya and Pandora

Souya is a new volunteer with our club in Southmead. Pandora is a young person attending our Southmead club. Both attended our morning with Laura Rawlings at BBC Radio Bristol and you can hear their pieces at the end of this post. We also wanted to give Souya an opportunity to share her thoughts in written form.

From left – Laura, Souya, Pandora, John, George

We started by asking why Souya began volunteering with DigiLocal.

I took advantage of free clubs that were part of the community in my youth such as swimming lessons, sporting initiatives and IT introductory sessions. 

Due to that experience, I feel that it is important to volunteer in clubs that are part of the community and benefit people who may not have the means to access certain opportunities.

I believe it is important to have the representation of people from many walks of life. 

Although I am now a Graduate Civil Engineer I believe we are going into a cyber influenced future so introducing subjects such as coding to young people helps equip and empower them for the future.

All our DigiLocal volunteers work in industry and bring their real-world experience to the clubs. This gives young people the opportunity to see real engineers in action, solving problems alongside the young people. This is obviously a huge benefit for the young people but we wanted to know what Souya got from supporting the young people.

Satisfaction!!! Being able to encourage and facilitate the learning of young people from under-represented backgrounds to get involved in something different inspires me.  Being able to play a small part in a young persons’ learning and development – even if it is just one hour of coding a week provides me with an incredible sense of achievement.

There are lots of charities and groups that rely on their volunteers to bring benefit to their communities. We asked Souya why she choose DigiLocal over the many volunteering options available to her.

At the beginning I didn’t know anything about DigiLocal. I wanted to volunteer at a club that is consistent, was within the engineering or technology sector and was an accessible location so that I could incorporate the volunteering opportunity into my schedule. 

As DigiLocal managed to meet my criteria, I chose to volunteer there.  Now that I know more about it – I wouldn’t want to volunteer anywhere else!

Our clubs run for 1 hour each week. This is quite a large commitment for someone with a busy professional and personal life. We wanted to know what kept Souya coming back to the club each week.

Watching the progression of the young people every week is encouraging and exciting. 

The improvement is gradual but consistent and very evident in how  much their confidence grows from one week to the next.  

I feel  that there is a huge shortage of volunteers and it is important to have the representation of people from many walks of life so I have decided to carry that mantle.

With everything we do there are high lights and low lights. We asked Souya what some of those high lights were.

Watching the young people show their creativity and enthusiasm. 

An example of this is when a young person asks questions which are very different to what is mentioned in the instructions booklet.  Showcasing their abilities.  I am reminded that young people’s minds are open and eager to learn and we should encourage that.

We also asked about the times things don’t quite work out.

Inevitably life gets in the way and I am not able to volunteer all the time.  That is one of the reasons I believe there is a need for volunteers.

If you’d like to volunteer with DigiLocal, check out our volunteering page for more information. You can hear Souya and Pandora talking to Laura on the audio links below:

Souya talking to Laura Rawlings, BBC Radio Bristol, 24 July 2022
Pandora talking to Laura Rawlings, BBC Radio Bristol, 24 July 2022