July 2019 Volunteer of the Month

Jennifer Henriques of Financial Ombudsman Service is ELBA’s Volunteer of the Month for July! Jennifer is a prolific volunteer full of enthusiasm to volunteer and to engage her colleagues in volunteering activities. Jennifer has supported a wide range of opportunities, from working with ELBA’s Parity project (funded by Nomura, State Street and AXA XL) to improve the employability of young black men by offering workshops with FOS employees, to working with a wide selection of schools to provide insight visits. Jennifer plays a crucial role in organising and delivering volunteer activities: ELBA, her colleagues and the beneficiaries she supports are all grateful. We caught up with Jennifer to learn more about what motivates her to volunteer.

Hi Jennifer, why did you decide to volunteer?
My background is in education and as an educator of young adults, 16-19 years old, I had to think outside the box and find ways to motivate my learners and better prepare them for the world of work. As such, I attended many networking events and managed to form many partnerships and alliances with businesses in different industries. This in turn, motivated industry to give my learners an insight into what they could expect when they left structured education. Opening their eyes and minds to the world of work and busting the myths went a long way towards raising their aspirations and encouraging them to work harder and bring out their best potential. I firmly believe that the generation of the future can only be at their best if they’re aided by the current generation of workers. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence, I wanted to contribute to the community we work in, and ELBA gave me this opportunity.

What have you gained from your volunteering experience?
I have very good organisational skills which have been have sharpened through the range of different activities I arrange through ELBA. I’m also better able to deal more effectively in a crisis or when things don’t go as planned. Being in education for over a decade helped me to relate to young adults and other groups my organisation hosts through ELBA. It gives me pleasure to know that through the various activities I get involved with, I’m able to help people in the community to raise their aspirations and their confidence to tackle obstacles they may encounter when seeking employment or dealing with financial matters.

Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and if so, why?
Most definitely! It’s been a worthwhile experience, helping me to feel good about myself. Helping others is rewarding, plus volunteering breaks up the daily work routine and provides variety in the workplace.  You get the chance to meet and work with colleagues who you probably would have never met and you get invited to events. Besides, it is fun and a great way to network.

Jennifer’s volunteering is a great example of how professional business skills can be used to meet community need. If you think your skills could benefit an east London based charity then please contact Jonathan Tait via jonathan.tait@elba-1.org.uk.

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