WHEN Nafisa Akhter became a volunteer, she was looking to expand her social network.
In 2014, she had started a nutrition degree, the only of her school friends to choose Curtin University as a pathway and was looking for something positive to do, while making friends.
“I was approached to become part of Curtin Volunteers (CV) and I though ‘why not?’,” Miss Akhter said.
“I’ve changed incredibly, I was in a new environment and it was so scary, I think volunteering gave me a pathway to look at things differently.”
CV is a student driven program that deploys volunteers to ongoing and one off activities throughout the state as a means to boost community programs.
Miss Akhter quickly rose through the ranks of the CV, becoming a program leader to 30 volunteers. With an interest in food, she has overseen the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at Beckenham Primary School, taking eight sessions a week.
“I found the happiness that comes with gardening, and I always looked forward to going with the kids,” she said.
“I would come home and try out the food we grew and the recipes we’d tried… I became confident cooking vegetarian dishes.”
Eventually Ms Akhter became the vice-president, the president, but soon missed human interaction and when back to her old high school, Kent Street Senior High School to become a study buddy.
“It was fun going back, I felt like I could give back to a school that gave me so much,” Miss Akhter said.
Working with students considered as disengaged Miss Akhter has taught life skills including how to write a resume.
“It’s been great to see students achieving and I have made connections with the students, high school students are not as open as young children,” Miss Akhter said.
Miss Akhter said she was proud of what she had achieved as a volunteer and hoped to see more people participate in giving back.
“I want to see people giving back without expectation,” she said.