A Year of Achievements

Celebrating a Year of Achievements

My name is Mélys Codo, I am a Masters student in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, and this year, I have had the chance to volunteer at CEN8 as part of their writing team. My voluntary experience as a writer and reporter was marked with beautiful discoveries, as I got to witness the scope of what CEN8 volunteers achieve. It is my pleasure to take you on a journey to celebrate the achievements of my fellow volunteers this past academic year. 

The scorching sun might be announcing the beginning of a long-awaited summer, but here at CEN8, the year is drawing to an end. It is now time for us volunteers to say goodbye for the summer, and to look back on a year of incredible achievements. But, as you will soon discover, at CEN8, happy endings are always auspicious of promising new beginnings.

unnamed-37Our Christmas get together!

This year will mark CEN8’s seventh anniversary and, ultimately, the seventh year of a strong partnership between CEN8 and Goldsmiths, University of London. With seventy five dedicated volunteers this academic year from a diverse range of disciplines – ranging from Anthropology to Design, from Psychology to Business Computer Entrepreneurship –  CEN8 keeps on building itself as one of the core components of Goldsmiths’ student life.  

unnamed-38The Admin/Management team together with photographer, Greta

unnamed-32The Writing Team – see me right in the middle!

Any student volunteer would tell you: CEN8 is all about creativity. Not only because Gill and Ken – the directors at the heart of this innovative and visionary enterprise – are dedicated and committed to the development and encouragement of creative talent, but also because they entrust us with their vision when they take us on board in this great artistic adventure, and nurture a space where they allow children – both “Kids” and “Teens” – along with student volunteers to let creativity flourish in every shape possible.

This year, CEN8 volunteers have been very busy. Indeed, we have delivered, facilitated and overseen weekly creative workshops, thus being diligently involved in the development of children’s creative talent. As ever, children’s development and self-worth were at the core of our voluntary endeavour.

During Art Workshops running on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, student art facilitators have supported and encouraged children to craft their imagination into concrete presence. From the preparation of collaborative drawing activities – fostering children’s ability to work and interact together – to the initiation to puppet-making, volunteers aimed to expose children to a wide array of artistic activities and provide them with tools to express themselves and translate their own vision of the world into an artistic form. Those workshops became the core of the art exhibition My Dreams, My World – the culminating highlight of CEN8 activities this year – which featured the works of art created and produced by children under the guidance of student volunteers.  

IMG_9253Just some of the 85 visitors to CEN8Kids Exhibition, My Dreams, My World

The extent of the work achieved this year does not end here. We volunteers also ran workshops every Saturday, where children were invited to further develop a different, more performative set of artistic skills. Dancers or musicians, volunteers have committed their time to transmit their passion for music and dance to children. Not only did they give them a brand new expressive outlet, student volunteers provided CEN8 kids and teens with very practical tools, helping them, for instance, with song-writing or recording.  

From the outside, one could be tempted to think we are kept out of the learning loop; that only children get to learn new skills. One could not be further away from the truth. “We are all learning – even the student volunteers”, says one of CEN8’s devoted workshop facilitators.

Once again, this year, we have learnt so much by being part of CEN8. Whether first-timers at CEN8 or CEN8 veterans on their third round, all student volunteers praise CEN8 as a fertile ground for curiosity and learning. Indeed, because CEN8 is at the heart of student experience at Goldsmiths, it is no surprise that all students across the academic discipline board – from Anthropology to Media and Communications – claim that their experience at CEN8 is a fundamental pillar of their education. “It makes my study at Goldsmiths whole” says Paulyne, Anthropology postgraduate student who volunteers as events coordinator at CEN8, delivering and facilitating CEN8 projects such as Teen Dance. Paulyne asserts that her voluntary work allows her to learn through constant interaction with all involved at CEN8 – children, parents, and fellow volunteers.

unnamed-34Our volunteers meeting with Rachel Taylor of the Fashion PR agency, SANE

unnamed-35A group of CEN8Gold volunteers visited the Catto Gallery to see the Richard Twose exhibition where they were delighted to meet the artist himself!

At CEN8, collaboration and team effort is key. Whether on the front line – during workshops with children, or behind the scenes – during team meetings devising communication strategies or fundraising events, CEN8 operates as a friendly and sociable, yet professional, efficient and driven environment where we get to develop skills highly valued on the professional market.

unnamed-31Our Bake Sale raised much needed funds for CEN8Kids Art Club

Some of us have been involved in administrative and managerial activities, by organising events, managing social media accounts, or even being in charge of legal matters – as diverse as Health & Safety Policies or laws regarding intellectual property. We have also shone in more technical areas, such as filmmaking, or computing – by conceptualising CEN8’s future website.  

Whether involved in administrative tasks or technical ones, we all recognise that volunteering at CEN8 provides us with the opportunity to put university theory into practice and, furthermore, with precious skills which we will utilise in our future careers – precious skills that we are utilising, now, in our activities at CEN8.

unnamed-36Some CEN8Gold volunteers meeting with recruiter Emma to discuss CV writing and interview skills

What better example than the art exhibition My Dreams, My World to illustrate the amount of professionalism which CEN8 volunteers have proven this year. In organising what has been a successful end-of-the-year event, all the volunteers involved have displayed leadership and organisation, committing their time and effort in fundraising and promoting CEN8 activities and the children’s fantastic work. This year, all of us student volunteers have been a part of the collaborative effort which fosters CEN8, and makes it such an innovative and ground-breaking initiative which benefits the whole community – children, parents, students. And if you won’t take my word for it, I know for certain that the beaming faces – proud and impressed – of our precociously talented artists and their parents at the opening of the exhibition on June 7th, will erase any doubt.

unnamed-29unnamed-28Goodbye to some of our fantastic volunteers at this end-of-term bash!

This pinnacle of voluntary commitment and achievement was no farewell – it was not even a goodbye. It was a statement of our commitment, a fervent declaration of our faith in children’s talent.

It was a heartfelt promise : CEN8 will see you next year.



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