My name is Ashley Dunkley. I am an international student – all the way from Canada, studying Law at the University of Northampton.
To be honest, prior to my attendance, I wasn’t aware of the Changemaker Hub. However, since my arrival the Changemaker Hub has been vital to my studies and extra-curricular activities.
Before I decided to make the move and skip across the pond to the UK, I was/am working as a Licensed Paralegal for an Ottawa law firm – McNally Gervan Lawyers. Whilst in my position I developed a strong passion for helping others and doing more than the ‘average’ requirements of a Licensed Paralegal. I had every intention on starting a charity venture, but just never got around to it – too many excuses, I guess. That is until Bruce Paterson of the Changemaker Hub attended one of my first classes and explained what the Changemaker can do to help. I remember him sharing a story about a past student who started a charity and instantly thought ‘that could be me’. I believe it was that following week that I met up with Bruce and things took off from there.
I spoke to Bruce about my aspirations to start a charity for victims of negligent acts and more or less said that I didn’t want to waste any time in getting it done (can you tell I am not British)! Before I knew it, my idea came to fruition and my charity became an official organization in Canada. As a result of this, I was lucky enough to be given the chance to attend the AshokaU Conference in San Diego last month – to learn more about social change and community involvement. Let me tell you, that definitely was an eye-opening experience. Within 5 minutes of the conference starting I soon learnt that I was very narrow minded indeed with what my definition of what social impact and social change meant.
Given my willingness to see change happen as quickly as possible, I decided to team up with a national wide charity (Barts Charity) to help The Royal London Hospital – Trauma Unit. I am now the host of a large fundraising evening in London. All proceeds raised go directly to the trauma unit. Again, the support that I have received through the Changemaker Hub and University have been tremendous, and without it the event would not be what it is planned to be.
Needless to say, if you want to make a social impact on a community, it all starts with people who are willing to help you succeed and the Changemaker Hub and the University of Northampton can do just that.
I encourage you to get involved, go and see the Changemaker Hub and come up with your own definition of social change. It can be anything you want it to be. The world is what you make it, as great as you want it to be, you can achieve anything you want to achieve; but, it all starts with you making that first move for change.
As cliché as it is, you can do anything you want to as long as you set your mind to it. Oh, and a piece of advice, don’t take no for an answer, things move a lot quicker that way. Nothing in life comes to you, you must go to it.
Good luck to my fellow future philanthropists. Remember if at first you don’t succeed, get right back up and try it again. For you can only grow from the failures you are lucky enough to experience.