Two weeks ago, on November 11th, students from our adult and sixth form classes participated in a luncheon for the homeless at the Asian Cultural Centre in Oxford to celebrate the four year anniversary of the Oxford Homeless Project. Our students brought an array of dishes, assembled the tables, decorated the hall, served food, and helped tidy up. Children from St Francis Primary school choir joined as well and delighted everyone with a few lovely songs during the meal. And lastly, the Lord Mayor arrived to say a few words marking the occasion.
Our students, some who had never volunteered before, felt that it was a wonderful experience. Not only did they have the chance to practise their English with the homeless attendees and volunteers, they had a chance to work in a team for the better of the community. Here is what five of our adult learners had to say about volunteering at the event:
“I think volunteering is not just important but, it is needed, because looking after each other is the most beautiful feeling inside. To get to know the community and share with them our love – it’s just an amazing act that everyone should do.”
“The atmosphere was so beautiful and positive. All of us had positive attitudes. The volunteers and the homeless people were happy and friendly. It was the first time I was close to and in contact with homeless people.”
“Through this experience, I could meet a lot of people. Some of them are homeless, some of them were homeless, and some of them are people who like to help people. In my opinion, it’s very important to imagine how people who are supported feel, and it’s better not to distinguish between the people who are supported and the people who are supporting.”
“When you are a volunteer, you feel good because you help other people with what you can and I feel it was honestly very satisfying.”
“I was surprised how the community worked together with students, neighbours, and political parties all together for a good cause. Volunteering is creating ties with your community and testing your abilities. It is about learning from the society around you and improving your self-esteem and generosity.”