Alicja's Story - From Volunteer to SVO
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Alicja's Story - From Volunteer to SVO

Alicja 1.jpgMy name is Alicja Kochanska-McAinsh and I am a Services and Volunteering Officer with Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries. I first joined the programme as a Macmillan Cancer Information and Support volunteer in August 2013 after completing a college course in Human Resource Management. During my second year at college I became interested in working in the voluntary sector and with volunteers. That’s when I decided to look for a volunteering role for myself to gain first-hand experience. I found out about the volunteering opportunities with Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries through my husband’s work.  After reading about the role and the programme, I quickly realised it was something I wanted to get involved in. I was intrigued to hear about the programme’s innovative approach to the use of libraries as providers of information and support for people affected by cancer. After expressing my initial interest in volunteering, I found it really easy to get involved and before I knew it, I had completed the core training and started my first shift in Dennistoun Library, which is still my local library. I also volunteered in a few other services in the south and north west of Glasgow.

I enjoyed volunteering so much that in 2014, when a Volunteering Assistant opportunity arose, I didn’t hesitate to apply. I was delighted to get the job and join the team in the office. A year later, my passion and involvement in the programme increased, so again I decided to try my luck in applying for the Services and Volunteering Officer role. I have been in my current post for almost two years and I still feel incredibly fortunate to come this far since my first day as volunteer.
What makes Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries so special is the team of volunteers and their passion for helping others​

During my time as a volunteer I met a lot of new people, attended some very interesting workshops, and met amazing people who are affected by cancer. Prior to the role, I hadn’t had any experience of cancer myself so listening about people’s cancer experiences taught me a lot about the struggles the illness causes in someone’s life. Some of the stories told by people were devastating, particularly when they were told by those who had lost loved ones to cancer. However, I also had an opportunity to learn how strong and brave people are and how quickly they find the courage to deal with a cancer diagnosis. I believe that people coming to the services find comfort in talking about their cancer experience and are relieved when they unload how they are feeling to us.

What makes Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries so special is the team of volunteers and their passion for helping others. They are an incredible group of people who bring different skills, approaches and knowledge to the services. Everyone joined the team for a different reason but had the same goal in mind: to support people affected by cancer in their community.

Volunteering is so much more than just giving your free time. It’s helping and supporting others, and making a difference to someone’s day or even their life. It can also be a great chance to try new things and find new interests. It’s really worth taking the time to search for the right role to fully enjoy it and get the most out of it. Being a volunteer can be an amazing way of gaining new skills, meeting like-minded people and learning about yourself. It can also be, as it was in my case, about finding your career path. Volunteering is most definitely an idea worth considering and exploring as we never know where it could lead us but without a doubt is beneficial to those who need our time.  

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