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Butterfly Volunteers

We have over 70 Volunteers helping run three Real Action Butterfly Saturday Schools.

Do you want to know what it is like volunteering with us? Let’s hear directly from them:

George Folger (Butterfly Teacher)

I’m a native Londoner and after graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2011, I spent the first five years of my career as a Headhunter in the City of London. I got in touch with Real Action out of sheer luck, having seen their name on a candidate’s LinkedIn Page. A few days later after calling Real Action, I went for an induction and I’ve been working as a Butterfly volunteer ever since! 

For me, it’s been a truly life-enriching experience, to really give something back to the local communities where the Butterfly Schools are based, and the rewarding feeling of working with the children and seeing their growth and progress in just a couple of sessions has been fantastic. I can safely say after years spent in an office environment, stepping into the classroom has been incredibly refreshing, challenging and a lot of fun.

I really believe all the children at the Butterfly Schools have so much potential and it’s so brilliant to feel that I can help make a difference to their future success and indirectly help the local community at a wider level by improving literacy rates. The ethos of Real Action has been so important too, all the staff and volunteers are very engaged and want to make a difference; there is a great shared energy and enthusiasm evident for wanting to help transform these children’s prospects and chances in education at a grassroots level. “

Chong-James (Butterfly Teacher)

kirencjI am from Southwark, South-East London and joined Real Action in 2016 whilst studying English Literature at the Queen Mary University of London. Before volunteering at Real Action I had helped my local library encourage children to read, and saw first-hand how happy children were reading the novels they loved!

Subsequently my first visits of Real Action’s Butterfly school in Queen’s Park left a good impression on me, as I could visibly see the children drastically improve their mastery of the English language in a very short amount of time. The actions and efforts of teachers and students translated into dramatic, observable progress, with the Butterfly teaching method working for a diverse array of students each with their own individul challenges to overcome. Learning how to become a part of this charity, learning how to teach and help so many children in need of help – has been an invaluable and unforgettable experience. For me, teaching at Butterfly school has come with the powerful reward of seeing future generations gain self-confidence through literacy.

Lorraine Vincent (Butterfly teacher)

I have enjoyed reading and writing since childhood; I was that child who would come home with an abundance of books from the library, then read them in a few days. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Hospitality Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, and then spent 5 years working as a Reception Manager in a 4 Star hotel. I currently work for Chartered Surveyors in Central London, as Property PA.

My heart still yearns for books, and teaching, so I decided to do voluntary work, and found Real Action, while searching on the internet. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was asked to meet with Queenie, and within weeks I found myself at Colville School.

I enjoy the great work the charity does and thought that I could use my fundraising experience to help the charity. The company where I work (Lee Baron Limited) raised £500 for Real Action through my charity event which I held in March, books were also collected to donate to Real Action’s learning store, where I received about 300+ books.

The Butterfly lessons are well structured, and the teachers are firm but fair, which enables discipline and focus in the class. I enjoy seeing the children progress, and it warms my heart.

Lauren Rayner (Butterfly teacher)

Lauren Rayner editI am a Queens Park local and work in the travel industry. From a young age, I’ve loved books and expressing my creativity through writing. As an adult, I love reading non-fiction books on a wide variety of subjects and love to feel like I’m always learning something new.

I volunteer with Real Action as I want all children to experience the joy that comes from books, and to help them develop their own writing skills. Good literacy makes a real difference in young people’s lives and I love being a part of that – seeing the children’s excitement when they learn something new is the best reward.

Melodie Nassey (Butterfly teacher)

MelodieI love teaching at the Colville butterfly Saturday school. I find that working with children from all different nationalities and backgrounds is so enriching and fun. I adore seeing the children’s literacy level improve in my class as each Saturday passes. Additionally, I enjoy helping a child overcome any difficulties they have on their journey to literacy.

I work full time in a corporate admin role, so I really look forward to spending Saturday mornings with the kids in my class. Working at the Saturday school has even made me to decide to opt for a career change and eventually become an English teacher.

mantas editMantas Valatka (Finance)

I am from Lithuania and joined Real Action in 2015 as a volunteer finance assistant. I hold a BA (Hons) in Accounting & Finance from the University of West London. I am responsible for the smooth operation of the charity’s financial matters by assisting our finance manager, Dara, in various duties.

I am happy to volunteer for Real Action as I can improve my financial skills and gain such an amazing experience. The fact that the charitable work we do is also beneficial for children, makes me even happier.

prof_melissa cropMelissa Forbes (Butterfly teacher)

I’m from Kingsbury, London. I’m the Office Manager at Anton Page, Farringdon. I graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2014.

Why I Volunteer: I came across this opportunity and could not turn down the chance to visit and learn more. I have a large family and understand/relate to the importance of literacy and the doors it opens for children. The classes are well structured and to get to know the children, along with witnessing ongoing progress is an invaluable experience and a heartwarming start to every weekend!

Katie Mooney (School administrator and Butterfly teacher)

Katie MooneyI am from Northern Ireland and joined Real Action in 2013. Before working at Real Action, I had done many things, from working in PR to being a community fundraiser.  In the past few years, I realised that I wanted to work with children, and so I decided to volunteer with Real Action to gain experience.

As a volunteer, I saw the great work that the charity does and also thought that I could use my fundraising experience to help the charity.  Being able to work for such a local, dedicated charity is a great opportunity and learning experience.

Jerome d’Orchimont (Butterfly Teacher)

Jerome d'OrchimontI grew up in New York where I held summer jobs as a lifeguard and camp counsellor for younger children. After finishing university in Canada at Mcgill University, I was drawn to South Korea for the dual purpose of experiencing a new country and in teaching children. I taught children from 5 to 13 years old for a year, with an average class size of 30 students. Most of the children came from lower income neighbourhoods and had never had an English class before. The program, which was subsidized by the government, was for a single year. I travelled the following year and then returned to New York where I became an Economist. I have enjoyed working in business but do miss the classroom setting and working with children.  It is because of this that I wanted to volunteer in the Butterfly program after being transferred to my firm’s London office. I would be able to use my previous experience as a teacher to help children in London, and at the same time, the program would give me a more complete view of London.

I think the butterfly lessons are run very well. The program creates blocks of knowledge that the children continue to build upon, week after week. The other teachers are all kind but firm with their classes, which maintains focus on the lesson at hand. What I am most excited about is to witness the children progress in their reading levels.