Volunteers are the most crucial component of Rural Youth and Adult Literacy Trust
Most definitely, volunteers are the most crucial component of the Rural Youth and Adult Literacy Trust (RYALT).
Volunteers fill critical positions within the RYALT structure in getting our message out to rural and isolated adults and teenagers who may be struggling with their reading and writing skills and need help.
Not all the volunteering roles at RYALT are Literacy Coaches
Not all the volunteering roles at RYALT are Literacy Coaches. We have a lot of support volunteers, like Community Ambassadors, who are out in the community spreading the word. RYALT are also supported by Contact Centre volunteers who answer the phones and make outbound phone calls to organisations who need to be aware of our service to database and research volunteers. RYALT also has volunteers involved in database, website, and training material design, to name a few areas that go collectively to support the organisation.
In this article, we asked Gaby Wu, our former graphics designer, to give us his perspective on volunteering with RYALT. Gaby volunteered for RYALT from May 2016 to February 2022.
Volunteers play an important role
My role was a little but important role. It aims to deliver the organisation’s mission across NZ to illiterate adults and teens by employing graphical interactions.
I am a quiet autistic Taiwanese young man in my 30s, and I rarely initiate; however, I respond and commit to my work when the staff need me. When I first started, it was as a website designer, but I believe RYALT had other designers and IT working on the website and chucked me into the graphical design, which I am good at. My work is carried out remotely; rarely do I meet in person to go to Port Waikato, or the staff organise meetings close to where I live.
Communicating on Slack – RYALT’s messaging system – is essential to make it clear to the team what they can provide for me. And at the same time, I do my research to understand what they are trying to deliver to the market. The sources they give me are blurbs and photos, plus we communicate frequently and work together to get a polished finished result.
RYALT is a small organisation with limited resources
RYALT is a small organisation with limited resources, so sometimes, it can be a significant effort to supply expensive software. Still, they are willing to reimburse me for out-of-pocket expenses. I use my high-end spec computer oriented to video editing and gaming, but I use free or low-cost graphical software.
Since I only get to design on call, the busiest time would be when RYALT has a promotion or a quarterly newsletter. The promotional material is mainly printed but also digital. I make sure I use sound graphical design principles, including my Bachelor of Graphic Design knowledge.
I can design on a whim; the only tools I need are free or low-cost software; sometimes, I will use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign.
I enjoy volunteering; I’m not working full-time. I use my volunteering work and my spare time for opportunities such as honing my graphic design skills or networking. If a design job comes up at RYALT, I rarely say no, but on the odd occasion I do have to say no, RYALT completely understand.
Overall, I have gained experience crafting my skills, working ethically, and having good time management. Now and then, RYALT sends me a token and a thank you note, and I get to see my designs in the flesh.
It’s six years of volunteering, and I will never forget and look forward to seeing RYALT grow successfully.
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