Combining volunteering with her studies has paid off for a University of Northampton graduate.
Gabii Deacon spent much of her spare time carrying out duties in her role of president of the Uni Boob Team, which acts on behalf of breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel!
Her efforts saw her named Individual Volunteer of the Year at the Students’ Union’s Society and Volunteering Awards – but since leaving the University, her CoppaFeel! experience has helped her to progress her career.
“A lot of students don’t realise the benefits that volunteering gives you as a graduate,” said Gabii, who studied Psychology and Counselling.
“I can honestly say I would not be in the job I am without my experiences with CoppaFeel!
“I now work with individuals in supported accommodation. The challenges I faced in my role enabled me to approach my, now current, employer with such confidence, that I was employed straight away. I was then promoted within the third month of my job due to my commitment and demonstrating the skills I developed through my Uni Boob Team role.”
Gabii’s twin sister, Lauren, also represented CoppaFeel! when she was at De Montfort University, where she also won volunteer of the year – and went straight into employment, with the Victim First charity, after graduation.
Both had always been active with breast cancer charities since losing their grandmother to the disease.
They first became aware of CoppaFeel when they watched a documentary about its founder, Kris Hallenga, who studied Travel and Tourism at the University of Northampton. Inspirational Kristin set up the charity while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, and now works tirelessly despite her illness to raise the profile of the disease and get teenagers and twentysomethings checking their breasts.
“I felt that younger generations are naïve to the fact they could develop breast cancer, and I felt Kris was a spitting image of myself and Lauren. So, it felt really personal to us, and important to represent CoppaFeel! on campus, so we could increase the awareness of breast cancer to students.
“In the process, it also helped our employability skills.”