Chronicle Blog – Alex

The Chronicle’s Volunteer Blog features blog posts and articles about what it’s like to work on the project and is written by our volunteers. This is the second post by Alex Nita. She talks about her reasons for volunteering and offers encouragement for others to do the same! You can find her other blog entries here.


If ever anybody asks why I volunteer for VCS Chronicle, here is how I would like to reply:

I think every millennial can testify to our generational desire to roam. We so easily uproot ourselves from our homely comforts and seek adventure elsewhere. We’re hungry to see new places and meet new people, whether it’s just moving to a town a few hours away, or moving to a new continent for a while, just for the heck of it.

I roamed to Cardiff on a cold February morning, impulsively changing countries after finishing my MA in Germany, but not wanting to go back to my native Romania just yet. I was impressed by the conveniently placed castle and the unnatural all-year-round growing daffodils, I enjoyed the abundance of theatres and the flocks of students, but I was also drowning in a murky bureaucratic sea (involving flat-hunting, job-hunting and a rather pointless trip to Neath for a NIN interview). I had to adapt to this new city and its rules, and discovered it was a particularly hard feat to accomplish on my own.

Travel

I decided I must learn the story and life of Cardiff from the people who love it best – the people who give to the city without asking for anything in return, the people who cherish local communities and spend their time making Cardiff a better place to live – its volunteers. Volunteering was my way in – into the heart of the city.

I applied to be a volunteer for the VCS Chronicle project, documenting the story of Cardiff volunteering from 1914 until 2014, and suddenly I was no longer alone. I had a whole community at my side – both real and imagined.

I met other volunteers, some natives of Wales, some travellers like me, somehow landed on the shores of Cardiff, just like me, interested in the city, just like me! I met nurses and ambulance drivers from 1914, smiling away in old photographs, I read letters of members from the University Settlement sent to their mentors from the front and browsed brochures of various fund raising events organized by passionate people. I learned that this is Cardiff: the people who live here and want to help the city thrive. The people who help each other thrive in the city. The project helped me gain new skills and experiences to show potential employers (archive research skills – check; oral history recording training – check; digitizing accreditation –on its way) and I also, more importantly, have new friends.

Of course the short answer to why I volunteer with VCS Chronicle is ‘why not?’ Why wouldn’t a young inquisitive individual not want to spend some of their free time learning about the city they live in, all while meeting exciting new people and learning new things? But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourselves and see how it goes. Write a blog entry about it afterwards and share it on social media!