Sokol, Y Care International

Before becoming Youth Engagement and Education Worker at Leicester YMCA, Sokol volunteered for two years at the Y:Pod; a partnership between the YMCA and the City Council that provided support to care leavers and young offenders in Leicester. Having been in care himself, Sokol found this a rewarding experience.

After finding out about the International Citizen Service, Sokol volunteered overseas with Y Care International and helped tackle poverty in Bangladesh. Before his placement he raised £800 by selling cupcakes at Leicester Police Headquarters as he was previously a part of the youth commission.

Sokol volunteered as a Team Leader in Bangladesh in autumn 2015, leading a team of UK volunteers that worked alongside Kaligram YMCA to help promote improved access to quality education for vulnerable young people.

Inspired by his overseas volunteering experience, when he returned to the UK he set up a project at Leicester YMCA called ‘My Leicester’, in partnership with ‘GetMoneywise’, to raise awareness of homeless young people.

Participants were provided with a single use camera to highlight where they had been, where they are now and where they would like to be in the future.

So far, Sokol has engaged 10 homeless young people. The aim of the project is to raise awareness but also to give those young people the chance to be heard and be part of something positive.

He said: “Being able to engage others in the community and ensuring they are listened, seen and heard is a great feeling and I will continue to take action in the future.