STUDENTS
03/06/2015 10:42 BST | Updated 03/06/2015 11:59 BST

Seven Under 30s Who Volunteer - And Absolutely Love It

At HuffPost, we like to shout about people doing good things. That's why, when Volunteers' Week came around, we thought there was no better time to profile just a few of the under 30s who are devoting their free time to helping others.

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Mike Niles is a 29-year-old volunteering with a befriending charity in North London

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'Both of us support each other. It's more of a friendship than a one way thing.' Mike, 29

"I've been volunteering with North London Cares for some years now. I was partnered with an elderly lady called Mitzi

"With Mitzi the main thing we do is discuss the things that are troubling her or she's finding difficult and I'll try to help with the little things around the house she isn't able to do. The cats litter tray, light bulbs, DVD player malfunctions etc.

"Over the years we've been meeting up, normally at her flat near Finsbury park, both of us have needed support from one another. It's no longer a one way thing of me offering support to her as the volunteer, and it has developed into more of a friendship.

"I originally got involved after a friend, who attended a film club night with them, told me it would be up my street. It really was and all these years later I still support them, and now their sister charity South London Cares, whenever I can. It's more poignant as the friend who recommended it has since died of breast cancer but her influence has made such a difference to both my own, and Mitzi's, life."

Molly Lipson, a 21-year-old from London, co-runs a charity helping vulnerable young people living in difficult circumstances in London access better lives

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'I've been co-running a charity for the past four and a half years'. Molly, 21

"I've always volunteered with various charities since I was little - I was brought up to believe strongly in helping others in any way I could.

"When I was 16 a friend of mine sadly passed away and her parents set up a charity, The Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation, to help keep her memory alive and carry out work she was so passionate about.

"Allie was an incredibly giving person and always got involved in volunteering, so I was inspired to do the same. I now co-direct the charity with a small team of other young people and we all love it.

"I often find it hard to talk about what I get out of volunteering, because that shouldn't really be the point, but I would say that I love seeing hard work turn out amazing results for people who really need the help.

"When you spend months organising an event and end up raising a large amount of money it's incredibly satisfying and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you meet the people who benefit makes up for all the stress and pressure leading up to the event itself."

Amos Kimani is a 24-year-old living in Milton Keynes, who previously worked with inner city children in Bristol.

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"I volunteered to give others a chance." Amos, 24

"My volunteering journey started before the summer I went to university. The project was an annual youth conference hosted by Milton Keynes council. I found the challenge very empowering because I was entrusted with a lot of responsibility as well as being provided with support throughout the process.

"This then led me to working with inner city kids in Bristol as part of my university sponsored FA level 1 coaching badge. The next thing I knew I was in India for 3 months on the DIFD ICS programme with Raleigh International.

"My desire to volunteer abroad was based on the premise of giving individuals an equal chance to thrive. I became really self conscious of making the whole process sustainable, and that motivated me to volunteer again as a team leader nine months later - which was challenging as it was rewarding.

"Working with Raleigh taught me a lot about the various challenges communities face as well as a different ways to perceive the world around you and the people you interact with, regardless on how simplistic the issues may seem. I volunteered to give others a chance but I developed far more than I could have imagined and the journey still continues."

Eve Michaelides, 18, volunteers for a cerebral palsy society, and helps care for people with cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, autism and many other disabilities.

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'We allow them to lead 'normal' lives despite their differences. I love it!' Eve, 18

"I volunteer for Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society. We give carers of people with cerebral palsy a break from the 24/7 task of caring for them.

"Last week, we took five children ice-skating. Each child was in a wheelchair and the chairs went on the ice. This allowed the children to take part in 'normal' activities that 'normal' children would be able to do. And they loved it.

"The day after, we took six children bowling, despite then being in wheelchairs or not being able to walk and play properly.

"I love volunteering and wish to continue to do it as long as possible because as cliche as it sounds, seeing the smiles on the children's faces doing something different was one of the most rewarding things I've done."

Amy Senior, 26, lives in London and was inspired to get involved with a Motor Neurone Disease charity after her dad was diagnosed with the illness.

amy senior

"There's nothing quite like taking 40 children to see the sea for the very first time." Amy, 26

"I volunteer for three charities - CCHF All About Kids, Over the Wall and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

"CCHF (which is where I met my boyfriend!) provides respite holidays to disadvantaged inner-city London with difficult home circumstances, whilst Over the Wall provides respite holidays to children with life-limiting illnesses, their siblings and their families. At both of these charities I volunteer to provide support to these children whilst on their holiday to ensure that they increase in confidence, and enjoy being in a safe and positive environment.

"At the MNDA I volunteer locally in South London providing support to those living with MND through meetings, fundraising and awareness raising. I am also the Campaigns Contact for the group, meaning I promote the MND Association's national campaigns on a local level.

"What I get out of it is knowing that I have made a difference, however small, to somebody's life, whether that somebody is a 7-year-old who had fun on holiday, or an 80-year-old with MND who receives funding to help them get a stair lift due to my fundraising.

"Giving back makes you appreciate how fortunate you are, and I have met some brilliant friends as well as my partner through volunteering. It gives you confidence to try new things, and there's nothing quite like taking 40 children to see the sea for the very first time."

Rima Ali is a 19-year-old from Newham and has been volunteering since she was 15

rima ali

'Volunteering has improved my confidence and leadership skills.' Rima, 19

"I've volunteered for different organisations - Active Newham, Park Live Champion Programme, Healthy Planet Shop, Vinspired, O2ThinkBig, Dream Nation. I have also volunteered in local secondary schools in my area.

"I got into volunteering when I started Year 10. I saw an ad in my local fortnightly magazine that get posted to my local area in Newham. I emailed them, signed up to a workshop and havent looked back since.

"Volunteering has improved my confidence and leadership skills. I have a passion for helping people in my local community. I enjoy being able to help others using my skills and volunteering has allowed me to gain wonderful opportunities and meet amazing people who have such dedication to help others."

Jack Welch, 22, lives in Weymouth, Dorset, and volunteers for numerous groups.

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'I enjoy knowing I have made a difference.' Jack, 22.

"With Mencap, I work on two different levels. I am part of an inclusion group, looking across different agendas relating to the charity and being a wider voice on how learning disability affects our lives.

"I sit on the autistic spectrum myself, so this was a perfect platform which I am able to express what Mencap should be doing in relation to all aspects of their work.

"I also sit on a working group, which looks closely at how people with a learning disability can have their overall wellbeing improved by participating in community activities.

"I get a large sense of satisfaction I am part of causes I support, some from a personal perspective, and others because they are extremely rewarding roles to have. Besides meeting other people all across the UK, I enjoy making decisions and knowing I have made a difference in some way because of my participation.

"Developing work ready skills is one obvious aspect, but there's much more beyond that which is only understood once you volunteer."