Our impact Paragon Stories Bernie Hunter | Digital Development Assistant Bernie started out in our M3 dance group, and has been part of Paragon's operations team for over three years, as Digital Development Assistant. She supports Paragon activities across the board, from social media to raising hundreds of pounds through her tireless fundraising - as well as donating several pieces of beautiful artwork that brighten up our office! She wrote this for us, back in 2018: Introduction I am Bernie and I have recently joined the office team at Paragon Music as a volunteer. Throughout this profile, I will be explaining how I got to be a volunteer and the kind of work that I carry out to assist the organisation. Early Days In 2009, the opportunity came up for me to go along to a music and dance workshop, at the Tramway theatre, in Glasgow. It was Paragon Music’s M3 programme that I joined as a dancer, this gave me so many great opportunities such as performing in well-known theatres, across Scotland. I really enjoyed participating in the group for the five years that I was a member of M3 but I wanted to explore other avenues of what else I could do out with the dancing part of the programme. Right Time A couple of years later, I was asked by the Creative Director of Paragon, Ninian Perry, if I was interested in social media as he wanted to start getting accounts set up for M3. I immediately started to think of a way I could take on this duty, as it’s something I’m really into. At first, I found it a challenge as I had just left school and was going to be starting college. But when I started my college course by luck they offered me some work experience, once a week, at a workplace of my choice… I picked Paragon Music! Work Placement I spent two years on work placement with the organisation. I carried out a range of tasks which included creating and running social media accounts for M3, creating presentations, and writing articles to explain what Paragon Music is about. I gained so much great work experience by getting the opportunity to work there. On completion of the college course in 2014, it was time for me to decide what it was that I wanted to do next. As I really enjoy computing, I was really keen to go and study a full time computing course at college, and this is exactly what I’ve done. However this meant that I had to give up some of the activities that I did in my spare time, in order to take on the full time course. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend M3 and had to reduce my social media duties for Paragon Music as I just didn’t have any free time. College I went on to study an ‘Admin, Business & Computing’ course which gave me a wide range of tasks, all relating to the three main topics. I thought that this was great as it allowed me to try out different things, I got a real chance to find out what it was that I wanted to do when it came to moving onto my next college course…it was of course computing! In 2016, when I was due to leave college, I was asked if I wanted to go further with my education. After I spent a lot of time thinking about it, I decided that I wanted to try something new because I couldn’t go any higher with the course that I had just completed. I decided that I wanted to use the new skills that I learned by going back to volunteer for Paragon. Volunteering I am now a volunteer with Paragon Music and my title is Digital Development Assistant. I started in April 2017 by going into their office on a weekly basis. My main duty is to manage the organisation’s social media platforms – posting regular updates about any new information from Paragon, uploading pictures from workshops, responding to any enquires and announcing upcoming events. I also do graphic design, where I create posters for events, and I can take pictures at Paragon’s workshops using the camera on my speech device. I’m also work with other members of the operations team if there are specific tasks that need doing, or if I can help with event organising. Fundraising Out with the time that I spend in the office, I fundraise at local events for Paragon too. There is an annual event, in my area called ‘Bungo in the back lanes’ which is a festival and all the people in my street, have stalls and sell goods. I decided that I wanted to have a stall and raise funds while providing the public with information of what we do at Paragon Music. I have raised over £100 by doing this event, these past two years. In the past, if there are any fundraising events that are held by Paragon I have taken on challenges to raise my own funds to give to the organisation. I took part in ’50 dances, in 50 days’, creating an mini art collage live at the event, with all proceeds raised going to Paragon. Conclusion As a Digital Development Assistant with Paragon Music, I’m very happy that I am doing the kind of work that I set out to do; but not only that, I’m pleased that I am able to give the organisation something back as they have helped me a lot since I started the M3 programme. I have gained so much already about working in an office and getting to know how much work goes on in the background to make sure that all Paragon’s work runs smoothly. My aim is to continue to volunteer for Paragon and help out with fundraising activities. Thank you to all the staff for giving me this great opportunity.