Minister of the Month: Peggy Aylett
Here at the Ministry our volunteers are not just volunteers, they’re precious Ministers who form an integral part of the Ministry of Stories. Every month we like to tell one such story, a story of one of our Ministers who is doing an exceptional job and this month we’re celebrating Peggy Aylett from across the pond.
Name: Peggy Aylett
Volunteer role: Mentor
Lives: between the Arizona desert and London
Favourite story and why:
Alice in Wonderland because it is funny, playful, clever and surreal.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I grew up in the Midwest in the States and dreamed of becoming an actor. That didn’t happen. Instead I ended up as a teacher, first of young children and later, when I moved to London, as an adult literacy tutor. I also love the arts and my current passion is learning to work with clay. I’ve always believed in the importance of creativity and like to share those experiences with others.
My favourite place to be is by the beach and my favourite food is pizza!
Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?
I was a fan of Dave Eggers and when I found out about the project on Valencia Street in San Francisco I thought that was a fantastic idea. Soon after, the Ministry opened in London. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. I love the idea of encouraging children to write in an out of school environment with a lot of one to one attention.
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
I guess being in a new situation with people I didn’t know.
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
There are many. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the special projects. One of the best was poetry in the garden with students from William Patten School. They were able to plant seeds, watch them grow outside in a community garden, while creating poetry and sharing it. I’d never seen a whole class of boisterous children sit outdoors in quiet contemplation and stillness. Every single one of them.
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, like a school forgot to turn up so we all hopped on a bus and went to them. All went well in the end, you just need to be flexible.
Has volunteering changed anything in your life?
It’s given me the opportunity to work in a creative environment with children again without the pressure of a curriculum.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:
Imaginative innovative encouraging.
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
If you like working with children and enjoy writing it’s a lot of fun and rewarding.
You will also meet nice and interesting people and be well supported.
Curious to learn more about the different volunteering roles we have? Drop us a line and let’s talk!