Published: 15 May 2020
Monika Godo (BSc (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism (Top-Up)) has been using her free time to help vulnerable people in her community while in lockdown. She’s been using the mobile app GoodSam to find and speak with people that need her help. The app helps guide the efforts of people who want to volunteer. After a quick DBS (or Disclosure and Barring Service - a check on your criminal record) and passport check, the app shows each person the number of vulnerable people within a ten-mile radius.
As a volunteer with GoodSam, Monika could choose from three ways of helping: Call and Chat, Distributor, and Driver, from which she chose Call and Chat. She takes calls from registered at-risk people, typically people without anyone to talk to, who just want to feel connected with society. “I was a little nervous about it at first, but we had full training on how to use the app and what we can and can’t do,” Monika says. “I have some experience helping with another charity in my local area of Croydon. I’ve been helping elderly people with their shopping, so that’s helped me get used to working with people in need. Overall I’m working about seven or eight times a week now.”
“I signed up with the GoodSam app because I’ve always wanted to help the most vulnerable people around me. I’m a really positive person, and a strong believer in karma so I think, ‘someone needs to help, so why not me?’ Volunteering helps me sleep better. To know that I’ve done everything I can, it lets me go to bed with a warm heart.”
“I love studying” Monika explains, talking about what she thinks about continuing her degree under lockdown. “I’m here to get as much knowledge as I can, I don’t want to waste a second of my time. I really like the online lectures. I’ve already experienced distance learning before so I’m used to it. The only part I really miss is the little daily interactions, speaking to people from my classes and things like that.
On why she thinks everyone should volunteer, Monika says, “Although working with charities looks great on your CV, that’s not the only reason you should do it. The most important thing to keep in mind is the human being, the person you’re trying to help. My advice for anyone thinking of helping is to make sure you look after yourself as well. Getting feedback from the people you’re working with is important, as is keeping an awareness of everything you do. If you do that, you’ll be able to help others and yourself at the same time.
If you’d like to follow in Monika’s footsteps, you can find out more about the GoodSam app on their website. If you’re a vulnerable person, or just need someone to talk to, you can contact the University of Sunderland in London’s Health and Wellbeing Team for a one-to-one chat.
If you do something similar to Monika, whether that’s helping people with their shopping, running a community group or anything else, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the Marketing team or tag us using #WeAreSun on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.