Susanne's volunteering story

Susanne, wearing her robes after achieving her CVQO qualificationSusanne Young-Hotz is a part time administrations officer at Horley Young People's Centre, carer, grandmother and Cadet volunteer.

Tell us about your volunteering roles

"My main commitment is with the Cadet Forces. At first I was a member of the Air Training Corps civilian committee where I've had many roles from secretary to chairman. Then back when there were very few women in the Army Cadet Force I volunteered as female cover and my role progressed from there.

I've also volunteered as a judo teacher, a youth worker and as a reader at my children's school which lead to a new career path."

What were your motivations for volunteering?

"I always needed to give something back to the community. Throughout my life I've got a lot of support from other people...wherever you are there are people who give voluntary support to you and in the same way you give something back. When I saw that my children benefitted so much from Cadets I felt I should help out."

What have you gained from it?

"I found it difficult to find work when I moved to the UK; I am an architect technician by trade and that job does not exist in the same way in this country. So I started volunteering at my children's school as a reader and was eventually asked to train as special needs assistant which progressed into teaching. I also volunteered at a youth centre my children attended. That's how I got into youth work.

The MOD sets a high standard of skills for Cadets instructors. I've now done my MCGI (NVQ level7) through the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation program as well as a long list of qualifications within the Cadet Force. So I have benefitted an awful lot through it.

As well as this, I find my role hugely rewarding. Especially seeing the difference that we make to young people and enabling them to enjoy themselves, gain qualifications and have fun."

What difference does it make?

"We have the opportunity to make a huge difference in young people through Cadets. I have watched many Cadets who are not performing well at school go on to achieve qualifications (CVQO, DoE and CCAT) and start a career through the support available to them at Cadets.

We also give them opportunities that would otherwise not be available. Like our exchange trip to Australia. But most of all we give them fun! I always maintain whatever you do in life, if you enjoy it you learn."

Do you have any advice for someone who's thinking of volunteering?

"There are a lot of potential volunteers out there that say 'I can't give anything, I have no skills and/or I have no time' but we all have skills that we are not aware of and not all volunteering requires a regular commitment.

For example you could use your IT skills to help set up someone's computer or if you're a great listener you could have a coffee with a neighbour who is usually alone. Whatever you do it will be appreciated and you will feel a lot better for it too and have a sense of achievement.

Volunteering gives as much back as you put in. So try it! Even if it is just for one day, you never know what will happen!"

To find out more about volunteering with the Army Cadets, visit their website.

To speak to someone about volunteering where you live, get in touch with your local Volunteer Centre.

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