Volunteering inspired Kyleigh Melville to study to become an Educational Psychologist
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
In September 2018, I had just begun my second year of undergraduate studies at the UCL Institute of Education when my program tutor suggested I volunteer with Focus Surrey. She knew I was interested in learning more about autism and working with children with special education needs (SEN) so thought this would be a worthwhile experience for me. Although the commute was long (almost 2 hours each way!), Saturday’s became the highlight of my week because I got to play and tutor such lovely children using Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), and befriend other volunteers who loved helping SEN children as much as I do.
Volunteering with the charity not only taught me a new set of skills I could use in future educational settings, but also helped me get back on my feet in what suddenly turned into one of the most challenging years of my life. In February 2019, I lost a good friend who had been struggling with chronic illness and later in August, my grandfather to Stage 4 myeloma. Saturday’s with the charity helped me feel joy and encouraged me to keep going in a time where my studies and taking care of myself didn’t seem to matter. Both my friend and grandfather led their lives with the purpose of wanting to help others and I knew that by working with these children, I was honouring their legacies by showing those around me that by giving your time and compassion, you can make a long-lasting positive impact to someone’s life.
My time with Focus Surrey has since helped me take on roles working with more children and inspired me to work towards eventually becoming a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) certified Educational Psychologist. I currently work part-time as a Private ABA tutor for a family in Westminster as well as a SEN Teaching Assistant in a primary school in Wandsworth. Alongside my work, I am also currently studying a Masters in Education (MEd) in Psychology and Education with the University of Cambridge.
If you would like to volunteer for Focus Surrey in September 2021 you can register here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Focus2021
If you would like to volunteer with fundraising, grant writing, marketing, photography, administration or any of the other vital jobs that help Focus Surrey run, then please email us at email@example.com