As we celebrate International Volunteers Day, here’s a story about an inspirational 12-year-old volunteer who helped out at YMCA Hawker this summer. Ruby Pajibo was on holiday with her family in the UK, having flown all the way from her home town of Eden Prairie in Minnesota. Ruby’s mum, Alma, works for Southdale YMCA in Minnesota, as an advisor for the Youth in Government Model for United Nations (Conferences).
Ruby spent a couple of days at YMCA Hawker helping out in the Pod, Health & Wellbeing centre, café and reception. She loves volunteering and helping people. “I like to volunteer because I like to help others to make their situation less stressful and also to learn new skills and about different cultures,” says Ruby, “It’s a fun way of interacting with others.”
“Volunteering at YMCA Hawker has been a great experience. The staff made me feel like I belong. I learnt people skills working on the front desk, and how to use the till in the café. I also loved helping with the kids in the Pod.”
Volunteers make a difference
Helping others isn’t new to Ruby; she gets involved with lots of things back home in Minnesota. “I volunteer for the Youth in Government project and youth leadership at Southdale YMCA. I also volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, and Rake A Ton where we help clean people’s yard by raking leaves.” But that’s not all, Ruby also gets involved with environmental projects, helps the elderly and mentors younger children at school.
Alma is of course enormously proud of her young daughter and her compassion for others. “I feel very blessed and proud to watch Ruby give back to her community. She has a big heart and loving spirit. It amazes me that a 12 year old visiting the UK for the first time has taken a big step to volunteer and interact with people she has never met.”
Our heartfelt thanks go out to Ruby for giving up time in her holiday to the UK to volunteer, she is an inspiration to us all. If you would like to get involved with one of our centres or projects at YMCA St Paul’s Group, please contact Latoya Bloomfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.