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Volunteer Story - Sabera Merali

Volunteer Story – Sabera Merali

Over the past few years I have been an Enrichment Coordinator within my school helping to run the UK Maths Challenges. This year I have also taken on a role as an Enrichment Mentor with the UK Maths Trust, guiding and supporting students through a set of monthly problems to enhance their mathematical capabilities.

Growing up in Canada, I was fortunate to have access to many opportunities which helped foster my love of mathematics. After graduating from University and through my teacher training, I quickly discovered a divide in the educational and enrichment opportunities within the different schools I worked at (including those where pupils came from quite difficult backgrounds). Helping to run the UK Maths Challenges in these schools has not only enabled my pupils to broaden their horizons and deepen their love for studying mathematics, but I also feel I helped to create a culture of curiosity and thirst for knowledge. I have helped students to broaden their skill sets and develop a love for the subject of maths through means to which they might not have access.  

One of the major challenges I faced during my volunteer experience involved establishing a healthy work-life balance. Juggling the task of raising a young family, working and keeping up with daily tasks, and managing my home life was a challenge. The thought of adding volunteering to that mix initially felt quite daunting, but in order to overcome this I made a conscious effort to dedicate a few minutes a day towards my volunteering initiatives.

Volunteering as an Enrichment Mentor has helped me gain a deeper level of appreciation for mathematics and its application in all aspects of life. Volunteering has definitely helped me to improve my personal mathematical capabilities and reasoning skills, which I hope can be translated into helping me become a better teacher. Marking my mentees’ work has opened my eyes to how many different ways there are to tackle a maths problem by considering it differently.

Volunteering with the UK Maths Trust has been a life-changing experience. I have made it my lifelong goal to unlock the mathematical abilities of students across the country and to give them access to enrichment opportunities regardless of background or environment. It has been an honour seeing the progress that the students at my school have made year on year, and to experience the changing attitudes towards maths there. I look forward to continuing to foster a love for the learning of mathematics. Just one highlight was seeing how much progress my menstees made. It brought me so much pleasure seeing them succeed, and it was a privilege to help support them in their journey.

I would highly recommend anyone with a passion for mathematics and a drive to help young people to get involved with the UK Maths Trust. No contribution is too small. We all lead busy lives and at times it can feel daunting to take on a volunteering task when we feel like we are already playing a juggling act just to keep up with life. Even if it’s just a few hours a week, get involved and see what an amazing impact you can make in the lives of our young mathematicians. It is honestly worth every minute.

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Volunteer Story – Sabera Merali

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