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My name is Samir Badaro and I am a second-year criminology student (going into my third) at the University of Bristol. I have done a range of service work from building homes in Cambodia to teaching at a school for kids with learning disabilities in India. Most notably, however, I launched my own initiative called Children of Jordan, which launched in 2014. I personally trained over 300 Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian refugees, as well as Jordanian locals, in the basics of different sports and established two sports centres in two different cities, which are still active today. My pupils currently hold several Jordanian records in athletics, swimming and cycling. I was honoured to receive the King Constantine Medal for Service.

I have a passion to help and reach out to those who are deprived politically and/or socially. I managed to land a six-month placement at the office of Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, where I launched a research project on refugees here in the UK. Back in April of this year, I was named the UK’s Undergraduate of the Year for Social Impact at the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards. I was humbled and honoured to land an internship this summer working with Step Up to Serve and their #iwill campaign.

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 most certainly the busiest and overwhelming week of them all. I was scheduled to attend at least three meetings and/or workshops each day with the most senior stakeholders in their respective fields. It was daunting and intense. 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 for sport and civil society, 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 20-year-old. I hope this marks the first of many more meetings.

My third week was spent in the office where I helped the team complete 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 than my first two weeks, it was still very informative and enlightening.

Working at Step Up to Serve 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 provided the exact validation I needed to believe in my professional, social, political, and personal pursuits.

To my Step Up to Serve family, I am grateful for the opportunity that you have given me. You have instilled so many values in me that I never thought I needed or even existed! I shall carry this experience with me everywhere I go, and I will cherish it forever.