Here To… introduce our HeadStart interns

It’s been a busy week for the Here To team, particularly as we’re expanding at a rate of knots!

On Monday we had the pleasure of introducing Joanna, Here To’s new Community Development Co-ordinator, but now we’re Here To share a bit about Elisa and Samera!

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Hi everyone. We’re Elisa and Samira!

We’ve just landed the role of interns at Here To Islington, specifically to help organise Here To’s 1st Birthday Party at the end of January 2014.

Getting here has been a really exciting journey, with helping out locally at its heart.

We both took part in the National Citizenship Service programme in the summer which was powered by The Challenge. We worked in a team to build and deliver projects that made a real difference to where we live.

We then continued on to take part in HeadStart, a new project from The Challenge, where in exchange for 16 hours of helping out in the local community, young people can get a job interview.

Our job interview was with Here To Islington, and we’re both pleased to report that we were successful!

Coincidentally, we both go to the same school, but we’ve not spent that much time together as we study completely different subjects at AS-Level: Elisa studies Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, while Samira’s taking Music, Drama, English and Chemistry. So between us, we’ve got most bases covered!

Here’s a bit more about us individually (and our best ‘silly faces’ in the Here To Photomatic Machine):

SAMIRA

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Secret skill(s): acting and playing instruments.

Interests: playing basketball, learning new songs on the piano, jamming to music on my bass guitar, art, drawing, One Direction (I’m a secret fan) and socialising with friends.

Helping history: Islington Food Bank – I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and I was surprised to find out just how many people depend on Food Banks as a source of food. This was a good eye-opener for me and I intend to continue helping out on the project.

Most looking forward to at Here To: planning the event and seeing the outcome of all our hard work. I hope that this internship will help me improve my communication skills in the way I articulate my ideas too.

ELISA

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Secret skill(s): listening.

Interests: reading (particularly Harry Potter and The Hunger Games), listening to music from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Bastille, studying the sciences, graphic design and sleeping.

Helping history: St John Ambulance CadetEnvision (helping young people to create a campaign to help their local community) and fundraising events and face-painting with Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. Across all three of these opportunities, I loved feeling part of a community and the smiles on the children’s faces at Noah’s Ark were priceless!

Most looking forward to at Here To: having the opportunity to express my creative side, which is something I don’t get to do very much at school considering the subjects I am studying.

That’s all from us for now!

Stay tuned for more updates on our time with Here To and how the planning is going for the Here To 1st Birthday Party.

Here To… introduce a new team member

Hello Islington!

I’m pleased to introduce myself as Here To’s new Community Development Co-ordinator.

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As a fellow Islington resident, I am passionate about bringing positive change to our lovely borough. So I’m really looking forward to getting to know more about the hard working projects/organisations and local people that are helping the Islington community to thrive.

In my role as Community Development Co-ordinator, my time will be broadly split between a) organisation engagement – curating and managing a growing number of live opportunities on the Here To website – and b) resident engagement – collecting, analysing and reacting to feedback from residents about their volunteering experiences through Here To.

So think of me as the ultimate matchmaker: I’m Here To connect local people and organisations to create a new movement of helping out in Islington!

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In case you were wondering what cake I would be if I were a cake(!), I think I would definitely be a fruit cake with lots of ingredients – and maybe with a bit of a nutty edge too. That’s because I have a varied background: I love community development and I have most recently been researching community resilience in New York; I have also studied French, Spanish, Business and sports massage, and I’ve even had a stint as a dresser for the English National Ballet!

I am very excited to join the dynamic Here To team, particularly as I have spent many a spare afternoon helping out on various projects over the years. Being able to empower others to do the same is therefore very close to my heart.

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The best experience I’ve ever had giving my time and skills was in 2007 when I spent a month helping out a Costa Rican conservation charity called La Toruga Feliz – which is Spanish for ‘The Happy Turtle’. Having just left university, my personal goal was to look for practical ways I could help to solve global conservation issues. As only 1 in 10,000 baby turtles make it to adulthood due to egg poaching, I thought working with La Toruga Feliz was a great place to start.

I was particularly looking forward to using my Skills and my fluency in Spanish to open up a dialogue between local people and tourists on poaching issues that dramatically affect turtle populations. As a result, I got to enjoy some great Perks: learning from and working with people of different cultures, the ability to explore Costa Rica in my free time and (of course) the opportunity to meet many baby turtles!

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Although I can’t promise trips abroad – we’re strictly about Islington here at Here To! – I’m Here To help as many residents as possible to enjoy similarly exciting, fun and inspiring experiences of getting involved locally.

So please get in touch and share any ideas you may have about how we can do this better. We will be busily working away to launch some exciting opportunities in the New Year, so get thinking about how we can help you out with those Resolutions too!

How to get in contact with me