Naomi on volunteering with JET’s Inspirational Outreach Programme in Yorkshire
Naomi worked for 72 Sqn at RAF Linton-on-Ouse and was very good friends with the POC. After meeting with JET’s national volunteer and development manager, Naomi knew she wanted to make a difference to young people by volunteering for JET in the North Yorkshire area.
“Volunteering with JET affords you the opportunity to motivate, inspire and support young people in a generation who I think need it most. The level of support I have received as a volunteer with JET has been outstanding. Personal investment and development for volunteers with opportunities to gain qualifications and more experience is a reason why I choose to remain involved with JET.”
I have had quite a varied life and career, I have done a lot of travelling and try not to conform to the ‘norm’. As a qualified dance teacher, I had previous experience of working with children of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. I am also a qualified Aircrew Performance coach and MBTI practitioner so felt I could offer those skills to help raise self awareness and confidence and develop their understanding of how to interact with others with different personalities. I also hoped that my Pilates and Spinning Instructor qualifications and general outlook of a healthy lifestyle could equally inspire and motivate.
At an academic level I have experienced doubt in my abilities to achieve in life by teachers, my determination to prove them wrong saw me achieve good grades at GSCEs and A Levels and I enrolled with my university of choice. In life I have encountered the usual emotional hurdles whilst growing up, of heartbreak, betrayal by friends, bullying by a teacher – experiences that made me stronger.
I remember how tough growing up is, but I actually think that young people these days have more pressures on them than I did, as social media is such an integral part of their lifestyles which brings all sorts of other pressures, issues and impacts (some negative) which they need to be aware of as they are still developing.
Whilst I supported some of the Blue Skies days at York High School and visits to RAF Linton-on-Ouse my main involvement saw me working on the Yorkshire JET outreach programme with Easingwold School. I ran a 10 week programme working specifically with a group of about 14 young girls aged 13-15 years. The initial premise was to educate and inform on health and fitness with pilates, but this progressed to group coaching, enhancing communication and team work, encouraging debating, listening to them and challenging them. The students chose a topic of interest – the impacts of social media and worked hard on a presentation to the senior teachers and peers.
The group that I worked with was very dysfunctional at the beginning of the outreach sessions, it took time to garner their trust. The exercises we used challenged them and their ability to work as a team began to develop. There were challenges for us all, but they learnt to work with peers they didn’t necessarily like or who were in a different social circle at school. They became a strong team, and their individual confidence grew, individuals became natural leaders within the group often resolving conflict or arguments internally with reasoned approaches. I was exceptionally proud of the change I saw in each of them.
JET affords you the opportunity to motivate, inspire and support young people in a generation who I think need it most. In my opinion, the education system is no longer holistic and about investing in the children, but more concerned with meeting statistics and targets; JET bridges this necessary gap. JET allows us to challenge young people by giving them experiences and opportunities they might never have done, which in turns questions their outlook and shows them that they are only limited by their thoughts. With the support of those directly delivering these programmes the young people develop and are encouraged to aspire to achieve. The change in their self confidence and aspirations is uplifting, which makes volunteering for JET so rewarding.
I would like to still continue to support JET as having direct one-to-one involvement enabled me to see the impact it can have on a young person’s life. The difference and enthusiasm and realisation that they are capable of achieving anything and therefore make a difference to their own lives with their attitude and approach was the best reward as you visibly see the impact you can have.