Life as a Fundraising Intern – Week Four
20/03/2013

Sitting in the office this afternoon it is time for me to reflect, once again, on my week here at Action For Kids. Among the usual chatter, hustle and bustle of daily office life provided by our young people, I am able to digest the events of this week using my experiences as a tool with which to reflect upon what I have learnt so far.

This week, I have been given the opportunity to demonstrate my skills within the areas of Public Relations (PR) and Communications. Having worked within Action For Kids for a considerable amount of time now, I have built upon an array of skills and knowledge, being given tangible experience of working within an office environment and specifically, the department of Fundraising. This has been invaluable, and something that I look forward to continuing to learn from in forthcoming weeks.

As you may already know, we hold an annual Beach Volleyball Championship that takes place to raise vital funds in support of our charity and the children and young people we help.  For those of you who are less familiar with this event, fast-paced city life collides with the anticipation and fun brought about when a Beach Volleyball court is placed in the centre of an iconic venue. This year the Championships will take place at Canary Wharf, complete with 80 tonnes, yes, 80 tonnes of sand and a shiny Beach Volleyball ready to be sprang into action!

Leaping into action!

Leaping for the ball!

If you have never competed in our Championship before and would like to participate, all you have to do is get a team of between 5-10 people together, pledge to fundraise for Action For Kids and you are good to go! There is plenty of time to register your interest, just go to our website for more information, or give us a call on our usual telephone number. Alternatively, you can always have a look at a selection of videos from last year’s event on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/actionforkids.

Many of our players are keen to get involved eith the game, often choosing quirky ways to represent their team

Many of our players are keen to get involved with the game, often choosing quirky ways to represent their team.

In relation to this year’s event, I was asked to write a mock press release that could potentially be distributed to Press, giving journalists or other important stakeholders the chance to find out more about our event. Where appropriate, this would also present journalists with the opportunity to write a piece about it for publication. Writing this press release was a particular highlight of my week, as I was able to use the skills and knowledge acquired during my degree to assist me with completing the task. It was also beneficial to be able to practice and polish my skills of writing a press release, while using my knowledge of PR and Communications to lead with expertise in this area; assisting with a specific function within our organisation.

In addition to this, I was given the responsibility of creating a press coverage document for all the coverage we have gained in relation to our partnership with Sainsbury’s Muswell Hill. I thoroughly enjoyed compiling this document, as it is very valuable for Action For Kids as a way of documenting the recent activities of the organisation. It also allows us to demonstrate the ways that in being granted such a valuable partnership with Sainsbury’s, we have been able to provide our young people with some amazing opportunities.

Overall, this week has been a brilliant way of not only developing my existing skills, but also sharing the specific skills I possess for the benefit of the organisation. It is great to feel that the work I do is not only important to the organisation, but also valued by those I work with. Working within such a diverse office and team means that I am able to engage in a reciprocal learning process, as well as making a difference to Action For Kids and the work that it does, as this week has served to demonstrate.

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Life as a Fundraising Intern – Video Games(Aid)
11/02/2013

Life as a Fundraising Intern is proving to be as busy and insightful as ever. Reflecting on the events of this week, there has been lots to get involved with and a great deal more to learn from.

Monday afternoon saw the arrival of a number of Action For Kids beneficiaries, as well as a selection of representatives from the games industry charity Games Aid. This is because, following their extremely generous donation in support of our charity and our work last year, they were keen to return, finding out more about the work we do in aid of our young people and how their money was making a difference. It was lovely to become re-acquainted with some familiar faces I had the chance to meet at a previous GamesAid event, while also being introduced to some new people, and getting to know more about them.

All in all, there were a total of three beneficiaries, all present in order to be featured in this year’s GamesAid video. One particular beneficiary was a bright, bubbly, out-going, and chatty young girl with Down’s Syndrome who had beautifully coiffed hair and a natural affinity for a camera. I was also asked to partake in the filming, as I have been a beneficiary of the charity in the past, knowing only too well the difference that being provided with life-changing equipment can make. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking of the ways that this unique charity has impacted my life, being able to converse and share stories. Then there was George, an incredibly adorable, inquisitive and clever two-year old little boy, who although camera shy seemed very pleased with his new equipment provided by Action For Kids. George’s ‘Whizzybug’ was an eye-catching, pillar-box red electronic chair, complete with a child-friendly design featuring a set of wide, friendly eyes positioned exactly where the headlights would be on a car. It was great to watch George play and interact with his twin brother; while witnessing the mutual amount of love and admiration they held for one another.

A selection of GamesAid representatives, alongside some Action For Kids beneficiaries and staff.

Proof of a great afternoon spent with representatives from GamesAid.

Listening to George’s mum talk of the difference that the new chair has made to her family’s life was incredibly special, putting into perspective the great work that GamesAid helps the charities it supports to achieve. Being given a sense of independence is invaluable, and in providing equipment to both George and all the other families that Action For Kids helps, it is clear that they are not only giving them real freedom, but also the freedom to realise their potential; helping them to triumph over the challenges that having a disability may present.

Life as a Fundraising Intern – Hello & Happy New Year!
01/02/2013

As it is the start of the new year, everyone here at Action For Kids and I would like to wish you, our blog followers a happy and healthy 2013. We are looking forward to the year ahead and are keen to keep you well informed of our happenings over the next twelve months.

You may be wondering why blog content has been a little sparse over the past few weeks. This is because unfortunately, just before the festive period I had an accident resulting in a broken ankle; meaning I had to temporarily postpone my role as a Fundraising Intern. Having to adapt to life with an ankle injury has not been without its challenges, especially when living with a disability presents a variety of challenges in itself. However, after some much needed rest, copious amounts of tea, biscuits and television, this blog post marks my first day back at Action For Kids; which is a great feeling.

Time for Tea!

Time for Tea: The perfect remedy when feeling blue.

Entering the office this morning it was as if I had never been away, the atmosphere as friendly, warm and welcoming as it had ever been.  I am very pleased to say that I am, once again, a part of the Action For Kids team and look forwards to sharing and documenting my future experiences as part of this blog.

Life as a Fundraising Intern – Week Two
20/10/2012

Another Friday evening has arrived, and so it marks the end of my second week here at Action For Kids. As I write this entry, the faint sound of hoovering fills the air, coupled with a distant murmur of conversation. Re-winding my brain back over the events of the past week, I am beginning to reflect on my experiences, piecing together each memory and learning experience in the personal jigsaw puzzle that is my brain.

This week, I have had the opportunity to learn about many different aspects of Action For Kids in relation, but not always exclusive to, the Fundraising Department. The most prominent theme of this week has been learning about the significance and growing importance of the internet, (in particular social media) to the charity. Any activity the organisation participates in online, be that related to the website, on Twitter, or on the Action For Kids Facebook page, maintaining a virtual presence is something that everyone takes pride in.

The Action For Kids Twitter Page

If you feel inspired to learn more about our charity or want to interact with us, find us on Twitter.

Being part of a generation that has grown up with the internet and the many social media trends that have followed since its creation, sharing snippets of my life to family and friends in a virtual environment is something that I have grown accustomed to. The aspect that perhaps I hadn’t considered as fully as I could have prior to this week, is the use of social media for charities including Action For Kids. I now see that, as well as providing the opportunity for interaction and communication between the organisation and its supporters, it allows our charity to have its voice heard. This proves to be invaluable, especially when the majority of issues a charity may face are not always deemed newsworthy by the Media.

The Action For Kids Facebook page

The Action For Kids Facebook page contains information on events and other relevant happenings. If you feel inspired to find out more about us, join our page!

I have had great fun contributing to the Facebook page, uploading images (many of which were ‘nail-biting’ action shots) from last year’s City Beach Volleyball Tournament. A number of the staff and young people have also shared anecdotal stories about what to expect from next week’s event, which is even more exciting.

Reflecting on my experiences this week, I can honestly say that I have had the chance to build upon my learning experiences; turning theory gathered in my degree into practice. Looking ahead to next week, I am excited to face the many opportunities and challenges that it may bring, and cannot wait to be a part of this year’s Beach Volleyball Event!

Life as a Fundraising Intern – Week One
05/10/2012

The day I had been waiting for had finally arrived. Filled with a mixture of anticipation and excitement, I made my way to the entrance of the building that has become the heart and home for many of the staff and students working in and visiting Action For Kids. For those who are a little less familiar with the organisation, Action For Kids is a North-London based charity; established in 1991. From its humble beginnings, the charity has flourished over many years and now occupies Ability House in Tottenham, providing an array of much needed emotional and practical support to the families, children and young people whose lives are affected by a disability; from all walks of life.

The joy of Action For Kids

Having finished University four months ago, I felt particularly nervous at the prospect of embarking upon a new chapter within my life, as it was so different to the routine I had become accustomed to in recent years; attending lectures and accumulating my knowledge from textbooks. Now, the time had come to gain life experience. Whilst I was sat waiting to be collected for my interview for the position of Fundraising Intern, I began chatting to an extremely out-going, bubbly and funny receptionist, and immediately I was struck with the realisation of what made Action For Kids such a unique charity; the passion for the cause and friendliness of all who were present could be felt as tangibly as my heart-beat could be felt in my ears. Suddenly, I no longer felt nervous, instead feeling like a part of the family, which is an amazingly refreshing experience in a world that is becoming increasingly individualistic.

Warmth emanates from the family atmosphere of Action For Kids

I can honestly say, having been part of the team for my first week, I already feel welcomed and completely at home, which is a rare feeling when you have been part of an organisation for such a short space of time. The opportunity to learn new things and grow as a person is an invaluable experience in life and one that I have already benefitted from, and certainly hope to continue to benefit from throughout my time working at Action For Kids.

There are many opportunities for Action For Kids young people

I’VE SEEN A BETTER WAY NOW I WORK AT AFK
25/02/2009

Apart from being demoted at my supermarket job, (see story below), there were many other negative and degrading incidents at work like memos consisting of threats and criticism even including one memo where it implied that it was a crime to ask for training. I allowed this to carry on as I had a low self-esteem and things at the back of my mind told me maybe my work was substandard and that they were making allowances for the fact I got the job through mencap. And that that was the best job I could get…..

……Until the day I came to work at Action For Kids (AFK) as a member of staff for the first time in Jan 2009. I wondered what it was going to be like as I had previously been at AFK as a student for about 3 years then on and off. AFK had given me the confidence to apply for better jobs which I had came very close to getting, but not quite there. This included getting to the last few people for a managing directors job for a subsidiary company of a charity and also a £70,000 a year job as a sales rep for an international property company where one of the directors liked me and wanted to give me a job and his son also had Aspergers, however he couldn’t get the other more sceptical directors to agree so the search continued.

However in dec 2008 Sally the founder of AFK approached me offering me a job in the fundraising department. I had more confidence then ever – in ages – this was because they always had said good words to me saying I could do a better job then that. The action of them actually giving me a better job then that was an action that spoke louder then words for me.

desk

When I first started my work at Afk I was introduced to inputting the sales of raffle tickets that the evening canvassing staff had sold over the phone. After a few days, they were up to date for the first time in company history. The fund raising manager tracy knocked on Paul the finance directors door and they both congratulated me. They also promised I didn’t have to do inputting all the time and that I would get to do more interesting things, and they were talking to a lottery grant application consultant and helping write articles for the AFK newsletter. But unfortunately afk only employ me for 14 hours a week and the minimum required to claim my disabled person’s tax credits was 16 hours per week so unfortunately I had to keep my supermarket job.

However this was a great revelation for me that my work was actually worth something. I think had it not been for my time at afk both as a student and a part time staff member, I don’t think I would have come as close to realising my true self worth.

Blogged by Richard