On the evening of Tuesday 26 July, we were delighted that 50 3FF volunteers, intern alumni and staff were able to join us at Amnesty International for a celebration of the impact of 3FF volunteers.
The event began with thanks from 3FF Director Phil Champain, and a round-up of volunteers’ contributions from 2015-16, including awards for most active school speakers. We now have 40 schools speakers on the programme, with faiths and beliefs including Agnostic, Atheist, Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Quaker, Sikh, and Spiritual. While supporting our work in the 3FF office, the 20 interns who completed three or six month internships this year have blogged for us, photographed for us, sung with us, and three have even come to work for us!
The highlight of the evening was a fascinating panel discussion, led by intern alumna Chloë, featuring five panellists: intern alumni Katharine, Qayum and Kirith, and school Speakers Jason and Jeremy. The speakers reflected on how volunteering at 3FF has helped them in other aspects of their lives and careers, and commented on the current interfaith context, as well as the impact we can make as a 3FF community.
Katharine, who interned on 3FF’s training team last year and is now working for CCJ, spoke of the importance of the communication skills she learnt at 3FF. “Communication is key; being able to have a conversation that is personal and respectful.” Kirith, former ParliaMentors intern, added that “3FF forced me to open my mind, to be patient. To learn. To understand one another.”
Intern alumnus Q, now working at UpRising, spoke about his experiences of diversity at 3FF and beyond. “Find beauty in the difference and the otherness that we all have. What makes us different is what should unify us.” Speaking from his experience as a schools Speaker, Jason added, “People think differently to how I think. That’s ok. People are different. It’s my problem if I put them into boxes.” School Speaker Jeremy closed with the comment that “the need for what 3FF does has never been greater. If everyone followed, the world would be a better place.”
The evening concluded with ample opportunity to catch up over mocktails and cupcakes while sharing tips for being an Interfaith Ambassador using the hashtag #InterfaithVolunteers on Twitter. For those who missed out, you can get involved by tweeting your own tips, or by joining our volunteering or internship programmes yourself!