Minister of the Month – Judith Box
‘Young people have something really interesting to say and it’s great there is this space given for people to really listen to them.’
Name: Judith Box
Volunteer role: Mentor, Chief’s Assistant, Chief, Publisher, Speak Up Mentor
Live: North London
Favourite story and why:
The Big Big Sea written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Jennifer Eachus because it shows how big stories with a lot of heart can come from simple everyday words.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Wearer of many, metaphorical, hats, including but not limited to; Writer (drama and shortstories), Reader (of anything), Mother (of three), Chief Dog Walker and Assistant to Cat.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Ministry of Stories?
I’m sad that truly creative writing seems to be getting lost in the framework of the National Curriculum and I wanted to find a way to help foster and nurture free creativity in children. The Ministry does exactly that! Also, I fancied a new metaphorical hat.
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
Yes. Aren’t we all? Meeting new people, being scared of ‘getting it wrong’ and not knowing the answer as to why you might want to start a sentence with an adverb (hint – you don’t need to know). But being nervous about something isn’t a reason not to do it.
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
I loved the Speak Up project. Getting to work with a group of teenagers over a period of time and seeing them grow in confidence. Young people have something really interesting to say and it’s great there is this space given for people to really listen to them. They aren’t just the future, they are very much the now.
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
The people I have met. Everyone is so different, such a wide range of experiences and life stories, all of which make volunteering with the Ministry a rich and textured experience.
Has volunteering changed anything in your life?
It has increased my confidence working with children across different age groups. Of particular benefit is the space for self-reflection that is built into the end of each session. Something we sometimes miss out in this very busy instant world. This really allows you to grow personally in your volunteering role and as a person.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:
Inspirational, Fun, Needed.
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
Pick-up a phone or send an email and just do it.