By Layba Nisar
In the coming months, we will be asking members from our dedicated Heston West Big Local team why they volunteer for us and what they get from volunteering! Today, we begin with Layba Nisar, 14 yrs old. She is one of our most enthusiastic, energetic and engaging young people involved. Through her hard work, community spirit and innovative thinking, she has made a fantastic impact in our local community and is an inspiring role model for young people.
Read her story below.
Why I volunteer?
I volunteer because I like going out and doing different things on different days as I meet new people and am able to try things I would have never imagined to do. I also volunteer because at home I would spend my time on computers which is very bad for my epilepsy, so going out and helping my community takes me away from these kinds of things. Which makes me happy that there is something I can do that won’t affect my health and will help others.
What have been my experiences?
I have been volunteering with Heston West for 18 months and have helped out with many activities and enjoyed my time getting involved. There were community events at the Brabazon Community Centre, Berkeley Academy, YMCA Centre in Hayes, Cranford Community College and Parliament. At Brabazon, I helped paint the mural outside the centre and performed a dance. At Berkeley Academy I helped with their summer fete and Winter Wonderland. At the YMCA we went to see young refugees and gave them donated Christmas gifts and played games with the children. I even did a dance performance for them and of course, played pool amazingly (just kidding I barely knew how to play)!
At Big Local there are many events like: the BBQ for local Travellers (I made cotton candy for everyone), the Big Local’s Youth Action Team’s Natural Disaster Awareness campaign event (I was in charge of the raffle) and the Volunteer Awards Evening (I hosted the beginning). There are many more however these were by far my favourite. I also attended many workshops for the Big Local and did fun things like clean-up days. We went around the community cleaning up and knocked on people’s doors and gave them free roses. I also attend the Big Local MADE Film club every Sunday and Drama with Zero Culture.
I run debating sessions every Tuesday afternoon for young people, I teach participants new techniques and the skills required to debates effectively. I have been to Parliament with my Big Local team and we presented in front of MPs. Personally, I thought this would be the last session, however Seema Malhotra (MP Feltham and Heston) told me not to stop as it is very important for the community to have these kinds of things. My experiences in volunteer work have been so fun for me and I seriously can’t wait to carry on with it!
What do I get out of volunteering?
What I get out of volunteering with Taz and the Big Local is everyday going home with a smile on my face waiting to go and do things with the team. It’s such fun to do. I’m normally a very lazy person, however volunteering has made me more active and happy. Taz is a very kind person who is so approachable and easy to talk to, this is probably the main reason why I volunteer. Heston West has opened a new path in my life and when they say ‘bringing it all together’ they really mean it.
Layba with the Big Local volunteer team at our Community Clean Up Day in February 2018.