When he’s not busy studying towards the IB Diploma at St Leonards, Year 12 student Albert Badia is looking for ways to give back to the community in his hometown of Barcelona.
Albert spent last summer working with disadvantaged children and young people in one of the most deprived areas of the city after volunteering with the Spanish organisation Caritas.
Here he shares his experiences of leading day trips and activities during a two-week summer camp in Ciudad Meridiana, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Barcelona.
‘I wanted to do a volunteering course over the summer but found initially it hard to find somewhere that would admit someone under 18,’ explains Albert (16).
‘I came across Caritas, which works with children between the ages of about six and 17 in an underprivileged neighbourhood in Barcelona, so I signed up with a group of people who I didn’t know at the time, but who have become my friends, and I spent two weeks working there.
‘My role was to help organise a summer camp for these children so that they could have fun. Sometimes we would take the train to the beach or help them to have cookery classes.
‘It was about giving them the opportunity to do things that they wouldn’t usually get to do.’
Albert learned a lot from the experience, gaining not just new skills but good friends, and he plans to volunteer again this summer when he heads home to Spain for the holidays.
‘I would definitely like to do it again because I felt it was a really rewarding experience,' says Albert.
‘It was rewarding because not only did I make friends but I left with the feeling that I had been able to help people who don’t have the same opportunities as us.’