Youth Reporter alumni Anna finished her placement in Nepal a year ago but she still continues to volunteer when she can.
Although you have a deadline for your action at home phase, action at home is something you will want to continue for as long as you possibly can!
You have already taken part on a life changing volunteering placement, you would have impacted lots of peoples lives and been a total inspiration to your friends and family back home so why would you want to stop there?
Some people opt for doing one big action during the months of their action at home phase like planning an event or taking part in an event themselves. My advice is to do lots of little actions, ones that can be kept up, even after the deadline.
So what can you do for your action at home and how can you keep up your hard work after your deadline? I didn’t have many ideas before or during my placement. I had discussed some ideas with others but I didn’t have any idea when it actually came down to it. I knew I didn’t want to do just one thing. For my action at home, I squeezed in as much as I possibly could. I don’t keep everything up now, however, I still make time in my busy schedule to carry on some of my actions where ever I can.
I didn’t want to just make a positive change in my community for a few months once I was home from placement, I still want to make positive changes and I want to keep making them throughout my life.
Down to the ideas
I would definitely suggest picking something that you are passionate about so you are motivated to keep working hard. I am passionate about the environment and animals so I did a lot of online research to see what I could do in my local area in these fields. I found a local beach clean which took place fortnightly as well as a local horse riding stables which specialised in riding lessons for the disabled. It wasn’t long before I was making phone calls to see how I could get involved.
I also saw that a friend of mine was volunteering at an animal shelter which was about 45 minutes away from where I lived. I was undecided whether or not I could make the commitment to walking the dogs that were homed here regularly as it was a bit of a drive away. After looking at my schedule and my budget, I decided I could afford to attend once a month. So not as much as I would like to go, but it was better than nothing.
Once I had participated in these volunteering roles for a month or two, I decided it would be fun to invite friends and family along. Not only was I making positive changes, but I was also inspiring others to do the same, and it felt great. I even teamed up with one of the volunteers from my Nepal placement on the fortnightly beach litter cleans, it was a great way of keeping in touch after we had returned home. Having friends and family come along with me gave me much more motivation and made volunteering fun as when the weather was bad, it often felt like a chore and I sometimes lacked the motivation to attend.
During my action at home phase, I was also featured in the Chester Chronicle, I kept a Facebook blog of everything I was doing and I made some videos and shared my photos with ICS and Restless Development. Sometimes, the smallest actions can go such a long way.
I used the ICS tool to send an article and some pictures to my local newspaper. It took no longer than 20 minutes and I honestly didn’t think it would get published. A couple of weeks later, my friends were sending me messages as I had been spotted in the local paper. This article reached thousands of people and raised awareness of everything we had achieved on our placement in Nepal.
As my action at home phase came to an end, I was getting ready to fly to France as I was going over there to work during the winter season. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to attend my local volunteering activities but I have kept blogging, posting content online and when I get home, the first things I will be doing will be picking up litter, walking some dogs and guiding horses and riders around the arena.
I really enjoyed my action at home phase and wanted to keep my actions up no matter what stands in the way. I have met some incredible people, learned some new skills and had a blast along the way.
Even my friends and family have been keeping up the hard work whilst I am out of the country. Just a few weeks ago, my friend sent a photo of herself and my dad doing a local beach clean up. I hope this blog post has inspired you to get thinking about the actions you want to do after placement and I also hope you can create targets and goals and keep them up even after the deadline is up.
Anna is a freelance content creator and an activist who is extremely passionate about the environment. She loves to write and blog about her passions and experiences. In 2018, Anna was a Youth Reporter and volunteer on the ICS placement in Nepal with Restless Development. Many of her articles share stories, tips and advice for future ICS volunteers.