Oxfam’s Schools Program: meet Nick

Educating for change, Volunteers, Blogs article written on the 23 Feb 2015

As part of Educating for Change, we want you to get to know the movers and shakers behind Oxfam’s Schools Program better.

Nick Chester (pictured above) is a recent University of Melbourne graduate with a passion for sustainability. He’s one of many volunteers who made a massive difference to the Schools Program last year as the Schools Program Officer.

Like many other units of Oxfam, volunteers are essential to the Schools Program.

Here’s Nick, in his own words:

Stepping into Oxfam Australia’s Melbourne office for the first time, I began to realise what I was going to be part of.

Passing the Oxfam shop near reception and making my way upstairs, there were staff busy at work, campaign posters dotted along desk walls and something in the air (aside from the smell of Oxfam Fairtrade coffee) that had me ready to dive in. I knew then that volunteering with Oxfam’s Schools Program was a good decision.

What I worked on for the Oxfam Schools Program:

I helped with a range of tasks including:

  • developing action guides and event ‘how-to’ guides for Oxfam Fairtrade and Eat Local Feed Global
  • researching and linking Oxfam’s education resources to various Australian and state curricula
  • lots of promotional work with teacher associations to ensure teacher knew about our education resources and events
  • assisting Annalise (Schools Program Coordinator) at conferences. Many different things to keep me on my toes!
My three favourite experiences:

1. Working on the Eat Local Feed Global campaign and engaging schools on the issue of food security was a highlight for me. I was able to contribute to one of Oxfam’s major campaigns, which also happened to be a perfect combination of my interests in sustainability and education.

2. Organising a Teachmeet event to increase Oxfam’s ties with the teacher community.

3. Being surrounded by such passionate and hardworking people.

What I learnt from my time at Oxfam:

It might sound cliché, but helping out in whatever way you can makes a difference. Whether you hold a huge event, have a conversation or make a donation. Everything adds up.

That said, I also learnt how to fold paper into thirds for envelopes pretty well (if I do say so myself).

My advice for people considering volunteering:

Go for it. You will be able to see how Oxfam or other NGOs operate, meet other like-minded people and gain experience which you may not otherwise have been able to. Volunteering at Oxfam is an experience that I’m extremely grateful for!