Volunteering helps Natalia move on up in the world

Natalia Kiedrzyn

Natalia Kiedrzyn


Once a month here on the Action 21 blog we’re going to showcase the story of one of our past or present volunteers, to illustrate both the amazing work they do for us and the benefits that volunteering has for the individual. We hope that these stories will highlight the myriad reasons people volunteer and the numerous benefits it brings for everyone.


This week we’re focusing on Natalia, who started as our office assistant over a year ago, became our events promotion assistant and has described it as the best decision of her life as it’s helped her land a full-time job. “I started at the bottom and now I have this great job!”


When Natalia came to the UK five years ago, she managed to get a job in a factory. Her English skills were limited, and she was unable to go to college due to lack of time and money. Her sister Alex had previously volunteered for Action 21 as an office assistant, and recommended the experience to her as a way of improving her language skills and employability. Natalia, who wanted to develop her office skills, applied to Action 21 to volunteer as an Office Assistant, and was taken on in November 2012.


Natalia began to think to the future and ponder a career in wedding planning. Sharing her ideas with Action 21’s office staff, they enabled her to get involved with promoting and organising the charity’s events for relevant work experience. Natalia counts her favourite moment as a trip to Warwick University’s volunteering fair to promote Action 21’s volunteering opportunities: “I found skills there I didn’t know I had and that’s when I started thinking about applying for jobs.”


Within a few months, Natalia landed herself a part-time job as a receptionist in Birmingham, which she ran alongside her part-time factory work. Needless to say, she had no time to volunteer, so had to end her time at Action 21. Since leaving, she has left her factory work and progressed to full-time reception work, and she credits the volunteering work experience for her success.


“I decided to volunteer to improve my CV, strengthen my self-confidence and decision-making ability, and that’s what happened. Also, volunteering made more sense than going back into education, because of the flexible hours and opportunity to find a role to help you develop the skills you want. People say, “Why do it? You don’t get paid!” But I’ve found that employers would rather have someone with experience than schooling.”


Natalia added, “I enjoyed every aspect of my role at Action 21 and felt part of a great team. I’m proud to say that I also gained an interest in environmental protection.”


Thanks to Natalia for sharing her story! If this has inspired you to volunteer with us, take a look at our volunteering pages to see those positions we are currently canvassing for and details about how to get in touch with us.