Below is a quick chat we had with the wonderful Adriana Mills who is currently volunteering her time to help pack and sort important supplies for those affected by coronavirus.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Adriana and I live in Letchworth Garden City. I’m Brazilian and I’ve been living in the UK for the past 20 years. I’m a Senior Manager, working in Communications for a global IT company. I love arts, travels and all creative things.
How long have you been a volunteer?
I submitted my application early in March and I was called to help in May. In the meantime, while I was on reserve, I’ve been participating in all the online training available, from Befriending to Suicide awareness.
In the last month, I’ve been supporting the Operation Shield Project, which is a Government initiative and the area I cover is Hertfordshire.
Operation Shield enables qualifying people to self-isolate at home by providing a regular supply of essential food and medication, which in my view, is an amazing project to be part of.
Why did you decide to start volunteering?
I wanted to volunteer during the Covid-19 pandemic because there are many things about the present situation that are so completely beyond our control that I am concerned about people’s mental health and wellbeing. I’m healthy and it’s a privilege to be in a position to help my community. I think volunteering can make a huge difference in people’s lives and really change the individuals that we get involved with. I love volunteering because I get to do something different to my job, which I find really rewarding.
What’s good about volunteering?
Volunteering is good for your mind and body. This type of work can really make a difference to on an individual level and to others. Volunteering helps us to be and feel part of community.
I have enjoyed so much about this experience – the smiles, the laughter and the feeling of being a tiny helping part of a much, much bigger movement.
Biggest challenges you have faced as a volunteer?
I haven’t encountered a major challenge so far but a was concerned of potentially being exposed to the Covid-19 virus. When I mentioned to my family and friends that I was volunteering, their immediate reaction was to ask me to be careful, which is totally natural and understandable. However, all health measures with PPE equipment and the guided social distancing applied, so there was no real danger.
Why would you recommend volunteering to others?
Definitely. I have done volunteering work in the past. I travelled to both India and South Africa to help build school classrooms; a collaboration between the UK and local charities projects.
Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose and I always encourage people to get involved.
People who are prepared to learn and develop will find volunteering rewarding.
What do your family and friends think about you volunteering?
My family and friends are very proud of me. They have offered me support and reassurance to proceed with my wish to help and support my community where I can.
Is there anything you’ve been doing specifically relating to or as a result of coronavirus that you’d like to tell us about?
We are not living in a normal time, so this pandemic has given me the opportunity to slow down and to do things that have been on my ‘wish list’ for a while as well as reconnecting with family and friends in a virtual world.