My name is Samir Badaro, and I’m a Criminology student about to embark on my final year at the University of Bristol. Earlier this year, I won the ‘Impactful Social Action’ category at TargetJob’s Undergraduate of the Year Award, sponsored by Teach First and the #iwill campaign. I was rewarded with the opportunity to work with Step Up To Serve (SUTS), who coordinate the #iwill campaign, over these last three weeks.

I have had the privilege of meeting a range of #iwill Ambassadors and other inspiring young people during my time here, and all have a social action story behind them.

What’s my social action story? Over the last few years, I have done a range of service work from building homes in Cambodia, to teaching at a school for children with learning disabilities in India. In Jordan I studied for the International Baccalaureate, which requires participation in Creativity, activity, service (CAS) activities.

I am most proud of the work I have done with my own initiative, Children of Jordan, which was launched in 2014. I personally trained over 300 Iraqi, Syrian, Palestinian refugees, as well as Jordanian locals, in the basics of a range of sports. I went on to establish two sports centres in two different cities which still run today. My pupils currently hold several Jordanian records, be it in athletics, swimming or cycling. For this work I was honoured to receive the King Constantine Medal for Service.

With a passion to help and reach out to marginalised political and social groups, I secured six month placement at the office of Thangam Debbonaire’s, MP for Bristol West, where I launched a research project on refugees in the UK.

The last three weeks have been anything but dull. From meetings, to workshops, to sitting behind a desk, I was given the opportunity to explore the way many sectors work and approach youth social action. The first week was certainly the busiest of them all – almost overwhelmingly! I was scheduled to attend at least three meetings and/or workshops a day with the most senior stakeholders in their respective fields. It was daunting at first. The one thing running through my head through it all was not to make a fool of myself. Hopefully, I did not.

My second week was the most exciting. I was given the opportunity to meet with Mims Davies, Minister of Civil Societies, to discuss the Youth Charter in the House of Commons. It was a dream come true. The fact that I was there to discuss a serious matter and not just as a tourist was a surreal moment for me as a twenty year old. I hope this is not the last meeting in my career I have there.

My third week was spent in the SUTS office in Westminster, where I supported the communications team on several tasks including the newsletter for the month of July (go check it out!) and scoring #iwill Ambassador applications. Despite being a bit more chilled to my first two weeks, it was still very informative and enlightening.

Working at SUTS has opened so many doors for me not just professionally, but also personally. Working in an office environment with such passionate people was so inspiring and gave me the motivation I needed to believe in my professional, social, political, and personal pursuits. I’m so grateful to the whole SUTS for the opportunity they have given me, and the values they have instilled in me.