activating emerging leaders
The Emergen Bloggers Tribute to the International Year of the Volunteer
Emergen Creator Alicia Curtis How exciting! Emergenâ€™s second Blogging for a Cause ebook on the topic that is very close to my heart, volunteering! We have such a wealth of young volunteers on Emergen and Iâ€™m so appreciative that youâ€™ve shared your time and knowledge to create this ebook. Emergen has had so much growth over the past year, as members have stepped forward and become co-creators of this community. Blogging on Emergen has become a clear avenue for young leaders to build their personal brand, develop their personal and professional connections and learn more about themselves and others through the whole process. Thanks again to Janine Ripper for being such an effective and inspiring leader in the blogging space, not only on Emergen but through her own personal blogging endeavours too. You give us all a role model to look up to.
Emergen Blogging Coordinator Janine Ripper Welcome to the Emergen Bloggers Tribute to the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer. This booklet is a compilation of blog posts from the Blogging for a Cause event held for National Volunteer Week 2011. Thank you to everyone who contributed their stories...I do admit the more I read back over each post, the more inspired I am by the work that is being done by the young volunteers on Emergen! I feel so blessed to have joined Emergen, and to also be in a position to see you all shine and to share your stories with those outside of the Emergen community. A special thanks to Alicia who continues to be a shining leader and amazing support to developing the blogging space on Emergen, to the Blogging for a Cause concept, and to myself and the other Emergen Bloggers - be it new, or old hands. Together 'we can be the change you wish to see in the world' - Gandhi
ÂŠ Emergen 2011 â€“ 2012.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Thanks to the Emergen Bloggers and Stock.Xchng http://www.sxc.hu/ for the use of their images.
Table of Contents 6
Giving: The 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer - Amanda Joseph
Things to Consider Before Volunteering - Janine Ripper
Reaching Out to the Youth Within - Ally Millington
Volunteering: The Fastest Way To Learn - Jarrad Brown
Your Greatest Intentions Will Never Be Seen - Belinda Vecchio
Volunteering As Early Intervention - Lauren Taylor
The Rotaract Family - Piri Altraide
Volunteering Can Help Your Career - Alicia Curtis
Volunteering Rocks My World - Tiang Cheng
The Gift of Volunteering - Mei-Li Huang
Volunteering To Help Tiny Paws - Alexander Kerr
Organisation In Profile: Uniting Aid - Janine Ripper
Helping in a Time of Need - Eva-Marie
Doing Things From the Heart - Almetra Bethlehem
Volunteering in South Africa - Tanya Dupagne
My Experience Volunteering with JCI - Don Bales
Please Don't Pay Me - Jenny Geale
Move Outside Yourself - Marisa Wikramanayake
Maybe I'm a Selfish Volunteer - Sonia Carson
Love Thy Volunteers - Linda Le
Emergen Bloggers In Profile
Giving: The 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer by Amanda Joseph Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present - Albert Camus N o r t h e r n T h a i l a n d . Established in the 1990s, the park provides a n a t u r a l sanctuary for e l e p h a n t s rescued from brutal pasts.
There is something infinitely humbling in giving your time to another. Far more rewarding is the sensation that stays with you long after you have parted ways. Whether you volunteer with two-legged friends or four, the time spent with another sharing experiences and contributing to their future well-being benefits the giver far more than the receiver.
Medo is a medium sized female born in the 1970's.
Volunteering is never easy. It requires selflessness, understanding, humility and at times courage to face the darker aspects of humanity. As I look back over the past ten years of my volunteering "career" on the 10th anniversary of the first International Year of the Volunteer, I can honestly say that my time spent volunteering has been some of the most rewarding and heartbreaking experiences of my life - and I wouldn't want it any other way.
At the age of 8, Medo was put to work in a logging camp where she spent most of her days carting heavy logs with little food and barely any rest. At age 12, a large trunk fell on her leg, breaking her ankle. She was unable to work, and her owners were unwilling to reset the broken bone which was left to repairs itself. The bone never set properly, leaving her malformed on the rear left ankle - an injury still evident today. Since she was no longer able to work, her owner put her to breeding.
Volunteering is never easy. It requires understanding, humility and at times courage to face the darker aspects of humanity.
So her owners chained her by her four legs and found the largest and strongest bull (male elephant) and chained him to her. The bull was in musth (heat) and instead of merely breeding her, he savagely attacked her - and despite her cries of agony, no one would approach the bull for fear of hurting themselves.
This story isn't mine, but it has touched me no less deeply. It is a story set in the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. Although I havn't been there, a friend's experiences at the park deserve a special mention. The nature park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre in Chiang Mai, 5
Bleeding, alone and hurt, Medo was left for three says on the ground, chained by her four legs. Eventually the vets found that her back hip bone had been dislocated. For three years Medo fought for her life - and for the next 15 years she spent her life hidden away by her owners were ashamed of her marred looks. It was in 2006 that the Elephant Nature Reserve found Medo logging what small logs she could in an isolated mountain village. My friend visited the village in December 2010, fell in love with the gentle, warmspirited Medo, and has adopted her (they pay for her maintenance and receive regular updates on her wellbeing). This is just one of many stories. Organisations such as these require people with the selflessness and determination to make a difference in the world - a quality that inspires millions to take action against injustice - whether it is against other human beings or defenceless animals. On on this anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer take a step back from your troubles and look with new eyes on the world. Where can you help? Maybe it is a friend in need, maybe it is a local community, maybe it is an international volunteer organisation like the Elephant Nature Reserve that has touched your heart. If you can give five minutes, 1 hour, 1 day or ever 1 week, the difference in that person or animal's life is immeasurable. The difference in yours - priceless.
If you can give five minutes, 1 hour, 1 day or ever 1 week, the difference in that person or animal's life is immeasurable. The difference in yours - priceless.
Things to Consider Before Volunteering by Janine Ripper In it's simplest concept, volunteering is an amazing experience and is easy to do. There are so many causes and opportunities available these days, it seems that there really is something out there to suit everyone! However, there are some things that should be given some thought before making a commitment to any type of volunteering:
Time Be honest with yourself. How much time of yourself can you really give? Don't forget to consider other commitments aside from your day job, such as family, friends, hobbies, exercise and down-time.
The organisation Things to consider are the organisations size, dynamics, roles available, funding, structure, diversity, politics, and so on.
Values Compare your values to the organisations values - they need to match.
Location Where will you need to travel to? If its, say, an hour away, you need to add this to your time and financial (petrol, wear and tear on the car, etc) commitment.
What you want to do, or what are you passionate about doing? This is really important! You don't want volunteering to become a chore. If you are doing something you want to do and are good at, you will happy and you will make more of a difference!
Try before you buy More often then not you can approach an organisation to sit in on a meeting, or to put in a few hours in order to gauge if the place is the right fit (from both points of view).
Reaching Out to the Youth Within by Ally Millington
In 2010 I was a youth group leader for our local area. I dedicated every Tuesday and Friday night to be with around 30 teenagers ranging from ages 13+ and it was great! I was the only female leader - but together with a few others, we managed to organise fun activities for kids to come and enjoy - to forget about life and school for awhile in a safe and fun environment. I was never paid for this. I was always transporting kids from one place to another - I didn't mother them (well I tried not to) and I really did enjoy being in there company. I felt that it was important to create a safe environment for them - to grow, to be who they want to be and to have fun, without the hassles of school and home life. They seemed to enjoy themselves and every week they were always inviting there friends! It was all about them. I put myself in there shoes - remembered what it was like to be a teenager, and asked myself "What would I want to do on a Friday night" and then, the team went from there. I clearly remember not having this type of activities available to me when I was a teenager and so when I get positive feedback from the group it really does lift my spirits... to give something back to them, to make their Friday nights a little more fun and certainly a lot safer then my own! Working with Youth is a passion of mine, so naturally working as a volunteer in this capacity only makes sense to me. But I encourage each and everyone of you to find something that you are passionate about and then volunteer your time, services or money in that area.
You wont regret it. 8
Volunteering: The Fastest Way To Learn by Jarrad Brown I am currently a Rotary member in the Mt Lawley Club, sitting on the Board and getting as involved as I possibly can. Most people who've heard of Rotary would ask the question "Isn't he a little young to be in Rotary?" In fact, there are many Rotarians who are at age 50 and over who have been asked that very question. This is something Rotary is dealing with, and the numbers of young people in Rotary are starting to boom.
very short period of time.
Gaining Skills Some of the skills I've gained are:
Personally, I have been involved with Rotary for over two years, and have been involved in many volunteering projects prior to that. As a result, I am a strong believer that volunteering in a community project is the fastest way to learn skills that will greatly help your professional life.
• Developing sponsorship packages, • Motivating individuals, • Developing Agendas for meetings, • Managing relationships, • Event Management,
If you don't believe this, just attend a Rotary meeting and get to know some of the people involved. Many Rotarians are successful business people who are very effective at 'making things happen', hence their experiences in the community have largely assisted them in their business lives.
• Ensuring those who have given their time feel appreciated - There is nothing worse than giving your time and effort to a project and not feeling appreciated at all. This is a vital skill we can utilise in all aspects of our life. If ever you feel like you would like to develop skills in a particular area, there is no more effective or faster way to do so than to get involved in a community project.
Many Rotarians are successful business people who are effective at 'making things happen'.
And of course you will have the added bonus of meeting some incredible people along the way.
One project I would like to mention is Convicts for a Cause. I had the privilege of being involved in the project in 2010, and I'm also on the team for this year's event working with some of amazing people. Being involved in this project has been a huge learning experience for me over a 9
For more information on Rotary, and to find a Rotary Club near you, check out their website: http://www.rotary.org/en/Pages/ridefault.aspx
Your Greatest Intentions Will Never Be Seen by Belinda Vecchio There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer. With it beats the spirit of service, generosity and compassion...and the health and wellbeing of the community, country and our world - Kobi Yamada
Through my experiences I have met volunteers from different cultures that are making a large difference in the lives of others. After speaking with and observing them and their passion, Iâ€™ve found that they share an incredible compassion for the area they are involved in, they love what they are doing and they never feel like they are doing enough.
I came by this quote on the back of a book called 'The Heart of a Volunteerâ€™. I really liked the quote and believe it represents the strength of character of a volunteers heart and the impact a volunteers work has on a global scale.
Whenever I arrive home from a humanitarian trip, among the stirring emotions I am always left with is a strong sense of responsibility. Itâ€™s like a moral burden to share my experiences with people, to not only bring awareness of global issues but also to encourage others with ways they can make a difference with
I have had the privilege of being involved with many life changing humanitarian projects in Africa, Thailand, Bangladesh and Australia, from health care organisations, schools, micro-finance, safe homes, AIDS orphanages and ministries that rescue young women and children from trafficking and prostitution. 11
what they have and who they are. I believe that a majority of people would like to help others less fortunate, however people are afraid that the money won’t get there, or they don’t have time, or they don’t have anything to give, or they don’t know what they can do.
Little do people know how much one can do with what they have already. Little do people know how much one can do with what they have. I would never change the urge I have to create awareness and share stories and experiences with others, as it’s those experiences, and the people I’ve met, and the terribly unjust things I’ve seen that continue to fuel the passion and drive I have to help those less fortunate and make a difference in the world. My advice to anyone who feels a call to be a volunteer, whether it’s in your local community, your country or abroad - it's this:
Your greatest intentions will never be seen.
Volunteering as Early Intervention by Lauren Taylor Volunteering is such a valuable and rewording work/ life role to engage in.
blame this on others or are looking for an exit strategy. For this reason, I feel volunteering is something that should be part of the school curriculum, and not just a one week event in year nine.
Engaging in voluntary work and activities is a method for creating positive change within a community, as well as shaping an individualâ€™s personal and professional development.
It should occur throughout primary and
At an individual level, the act of volunteering is often an inspiring or life changing experience and installs certain values and attitudes such as self-respect, forgiveness, honesty and altruism. These are all values that I believe would contribute to a stronger sense of community, a reduction in social isolation, acceptance of other cultures and beliefs, and decreased levels of racism, which would facilitate a more harmonious Australia.
secondary school and forms part of official documentation of their curriculum council results. Through engaging in volunteering from an early age, I believe this will facilitate positive change not only at a community level, but also at an individual level.
Growing up in a middle class family, I felt that volunteering has assisted me with seeing how other people live and an appreciation of my life situation. I also feel that volunteering is effective practice to reduce â€œaffluenza.â€? In my different life roles I have come across some individuals who are self centred and indifferent to their family and community and what opportunities their upbringing has allowed them.
Through engaging in volunteering from an early age, I believe this will facilitate positive change not only at a community level, but also at an individual level.
I have observed that there is a correlation with the fact that these individuals have had limited exposure to volunteering or community activities. Many of these individuals are more concerned with material goods, and feel dissatisfied with their life or current situation and often
On a personal note I have engaged in volunteering is a wide range of interest areas including my lifelong involvement with surf life saving, taking leadership roles and tree planting trips with my primary school's environmental club, being 13
selected in Year 11 to volunteer in an orphanage for children whose parents have died from AIDS and more recently as a site leader for John Curtin Weekend through Curtin University. The personal learning not just from the communities and individuals the volunteer work is designed to assist, but also from my fellow volunteers. You meet interesting people from all walks of life, which again broadens your outlook, as well as having a great time and improving my positive self concept. Volunteering is a great antidote for those who feel socially isolated and assists them with re-connecting to society. Whilst depression is a complex mental health issue, I do feel that volunteering could be one approach to assist with taking a step towards a better tomorrow.
Volunteering could be one approach to assist with taking a step towards a better tomorrow. 14
The Rotaract Family by Piri Altraide HOPE Uganda, and organised quiz nights, movie nights and multicultural nights.
It didn’t take much to convince me about the position, over the phone. 'Club Social Services. You’ll be organising all the social aspects of the Club - I think it’s right up your alley!'
We’ve volunteered at and donated to the Kelmscott fires and engaged in cultural exchanges through international conferences. We’ve even been part of a “first time ever” project for Australia - the Sandgropers Project, Spearheaded by our own member, where we hosted seven international Rotaractors in WA. And of course, through all this we did what Rotaractors do best: Partying it up!
I paused. The wheels were already turning in my head - an opportunity for me to do something outside of work, to give back. THE something I’d been looking for. There seemed only one possibility: 'Sure, I’m in!' And so it began: my first step into a lifechanging journey, a vast and amazing world previously unknown to me. I’m talking about Rotaract.
Even as the words tumbled out of my mouth that day, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I claw at the essence of Rotaract - to dig deep is to find its spirit - 'Service above self'.
We’ve pulled weeds, planted trees, and restored the Harvey River (enduring attacks from vicious bamboo stalks and plants).
...The essence of Rotaract - to dig deep is to find its spirit - 'Service above self.' Rotaract has provided opportunities to serve locally (Red Cross Soup Patrol) and internationally (fundraising for HOPE and polio), to develop professionally and to lead. But most of all, it has provided the opportunity to develop lifelong friends locally and around the globe. It’s truly amazing that we can come from so many different countries and walks of life, but still unite with one main purpose: a passion to change the world one person at a time. As often quoted, 'It takes just a few passionate people to make a difference.'
We’ve served soup to the homeless, sick children and disadvantaged, and been inspired by speakers overcoming polio, blindness and near death in the fight against Apartheid.
It takes just a few passionate people to make a difference.
We’ve raised funds for projects such as 15
That’s what we do. I can’t help but be awed by the opportunities available, if one were to look. If they would just dare to stand up and say 'I'm the one! Pick me!' The rewards will come back in more than words. So much more awaits. Gaining these worldwide connections with like minded young adults, with over 8,400 clubs in 170 countries, I can go almost anywhere in the world and know, there will be open arms waiting. I couldn’t think of anything better. At the end of it all you just want to say:
Welcome to the Rotaract Family!
Rotaract Club of Perth CBD meets every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, 6.00pm at 43 Below, Barrack Street, Perth. To find out more about Rotaract Australia, check out their website: http://www.rotaract.org.au
Volunteering Can Help Your Career by Alicia Curtis Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
help move forward their community vision.
There are many different kinds of volunteering planting trees, repainting a community centre, helping the elderly or perhaps troubled teens.
Over the years, I’ve taken on some great opportunities to sit on the boards and committees of some fantastic organisations and projects. I’ve had the opportunity to create a national development program called 'Keys to Achievement' in my role as the National Young Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Representative.
All of these examples can be rewarding, but I would like you to examine another type of volunteering - volunteering your leadership and management skills through sitting on a board or committee. Many community organisations are crying out for people to contribute a range of skills, whether it be legal, financial or strategic to
Last year, I got to lead the state chapter of my industry association, National Speakers Association, and lead initiatives such as improving their social media presence as well as encouraging more young speakers to join the organisation. I’ve also taken on roles for specific projects such as National Youth Week, Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking competition as well as my first community leadership role - organising a children’s conference called 'Kids Helping Kids' through Millennium Kids.
I would like you to examine another type of volunteering - volunteering your leadership and management skills through sitting on a board or committee. 17
What's your next step?
What have I gained and why you should volunteer on a community board?
How do you choose an organisation to volunteer for?
There are a number of benefits. The best part of volunteering is feeling like you are contributing to something that’s bigger than yourself - that you’re contributing something to humanity and the world, surrounded by people who are just as passionate as you are.
Firstly, you can make a huge impact within an organisation and your community by contributing your skills and talents. You could create a promotional plan to gain more media coverage, obtain funding to secure the financial sustainability of the organisation or write the risk management plan so the organisation’s activities can continue. Community organisations, even though they are not-for-profit, need to exist in a professional manner, therefore need volunteers at these management levels to ensure that this happens.
Think about what your passions are. What ignites that fire in your belly? Look for organisations that do work in that area. You may already have friends and colleagues within your network that volunteer for organisations who could introduce you. There are a variety of organisations like your really large community organisations that are run right across the country as well as small local community organisations probably working just around the corner from you! Consider volunteering your time and expertise to a cause, project or organisation - you never know where it might take you!
Through doing this, you can build your own leadership and management skills, either in an area that is your strength, or focus on an area that will challenge or stretch you. In the workplace, we sometimes don’t get the experiences we are exactly looking for. That is where volunteering in a community leadership position can give you the experiences you are looking for.
Consider volunteering your time and expertise to a cause, project or organisation - you never know where it might take you!
You also get to build your networks. The opportunities are endless! I’ve met politicians, business leaders, authors, CEO's from private companies and community organisations, as well as everyday people from a variety of industries and backgrounds (It’s a great way to find mentors too). Through my community volunteering, I've attended conferences right around the world and with today's social media, it's easier than ever to stay in touch.
The best part of volunteering is feeling like you are contributing to something that's bigger than yourself. 18
Volunteering Rocks My World by Tiang Cheng I have had a collection of incredible experiences over the past seven years. I struggle to describe the essence of what has given me so much joy and heartache in my life. So allow me to tell a story from my early days in the hope that we can find out and understand a bit more about this whole volunteering thing! We begin in 2004 with my first job working at NetlinkCRM. Netlink, through an association with Joe Nevin, was asked to volunteer their services to help provide technology support to the World Rally Championship round in Australia, held in the southern region of Perth. Our role was to provide support to the Tag Heur timing gear, and the phone and radio equipment during the week of the rally.
Stage at Gloucester Park, and experiencing the rally cars racing literally 1 metre away. The fumes, tyre smoke and the unmuffled engines roaring away at full throttle is an addiction that started from that moment.
The fumes, tyre smoke and the unmuffled engines roaring away at full throttle is an addiction that started at that moment.
For the week of the rally myself and the other IT engineers would pile into our cars at 4:30am and drive out to the rally stages to set up and check on the timing gear, display boards, and radio equipment. Exhausting work but incredibly fun, and not something we would get to do every day.
For the first night of the Super Special Stage, we stood on the highest point of the park, the roof of the commentary box where we had all the timing computer equipment, watching fireworks explode in the night sky.
One of the more memorable experiences was working during the Super Special
On the last night, I remember running across the track as the last car went past the finish line to start tearing down the timing equipment for bump out. The fireworks displays went off just a few metres away. You know those guys wearing the highvis vests at the Australia Day fireworks, next to the floats? I know how those guys feel - deaf mostly. Rally Australia is one of the most incredible volunteering experiences I have ever had. Imagine - the logistics of training 2000 volunteers to be competent in their roles, whether it is a special stage official, a 19
spectator marshall, an SOS point official, a rescue diver, or fire rescue team. And then imagine co-ordinating the 2000 volunteers to run a rally event that is timed to the minute - in a way that ensures the safety of the drivers, volunteer officials and spectators - in an environment where there is no mobile phone coverage, no readily available power supplies, and dirt roads that need 4x4 cars to access. To be a cog in that well-oil machine was a huge learning experience in what can be achieved with passion and dedication.
To be a cog in that well-oil machine was a huge learning experience in what can be achieved with passion and dedication.
The Gift of Volunteering by Mei-Li Huang The Gowrie WA was established in 1940 and offers a range of services which includes Childcare, Settlement Services, Counselling, Nutrition and other Community Based Programs. My volunteering experience came about with the Gowrie in 2009 when my best friend convinced me to join the Homework Support Program with her. We both have a passion to work with youth from a diverse background and the program offered us just that! In addition it was also a great way for both of us to stay connected and have fun since we were both pretty busy with our lives. My role was to tutor youth from multicultural backgrounds in their homework. Initially I was scared of joining since I was never really good in Maths and Science, but once I got involved I realised these youth needed help in a range of subjects - basically everything. What I discovered and learned through this program was that each individual - regardless of what we think our abilities are - has something worthwhile to offer to the community. The experience has been a gift and a blessing in disguise. I have gained skills in networking, teaching, mentoring and probably countless others. But most importantly, knowing that I can be an inspiration to youth has been an inspiration in itself. Today I am a Case Manager working with youth, and I believe my experiences in the volunteer program have been a huge bridge to my career.
If you love diversity and empowering youth then give this a go!
â€œI have been in the homework help ever since I was 12. I really enjoy all the support the teacher give you. I have learnt a lot through out the years and I am really thankful for the opportunity. I hope that I can help children in the future as well. You have experienced tutors that give you advice and assistance that is great.â€œ Sara (Student)
The Gowrie The Homework Support Group has undergone some changes and is now a partnership between The Gowrie, Belmont City College, and City of Belmont library. The Gowrie is looking for volunteers, to tutor youth from multicultural backgrounds aged 12 to18 years with their homework on Thursdays 4:00-5:30pm. If you are available and interested please contact: Raihanaty Abdul-Jalil, Settlement Grants Youth Worker on 93128254 / firstname.lastname@example.org Or Mei-Li Huang at email@example.com
Volunteering To Help Tiny Paws by Alexander Kerr I have read some pretty inspirational stories about the different volunteering experiences people have had that have changed their life. So I thought I would share my volunteering experience about how many tiny paws have come and gone in my life, and how the impact they made on me will remain always. Volunteering has changed, educated and taught me to grow, all for the better. During my childhood I was surrounded by animals. From the ago of three my best friend in the whole world was a 40+ kilo Rottweiler. The undying love and assurance animals show to you is something that I am sure many people understand. So in order to return some of that commitment from animals, I started looking into the idea of volunteering with animals (in my case, fostering kittens and cats).
To be truthful though, I was at first hesitant to volunteer. I didnâ€™t know if I would have the time or commitment to foster animals who I would eventually have to give away. More of a concern for me was if I would have it in my heart to let them go when a new home was found. But from the moment the first litter of â€˜unwantedâ€™ kittens came into my life, I knew I had made the right choice. It bought out such warmth, protection and positivity in me. Feeding, playing and openly loving the kittens was such an easy job for me, yet I knew it was impacting greatly on all of our lives.
I, like many others, was completely unaware of the amount of animals being dumped daily at animal shelters Australiawide. I was shocked when I found out. I remember crying at the realisation that so many of these animals would possibly never get adopted, or that they would face a worse fate due to overpopulation.
I knew it was impacting greatly on all of our lives.
There is one experience of a kitten I fostered I think of to this day. This kitten came to me at only four days of age after being found dumped alone. Kittens at that age are simply like a tiny heartbeat with bare fur in your hand. Their eyes haven't even opened yet and they can barely make a noise. They are utterly defenceless and completely dependent on their mother. So I became her mother. My days and nights were filled with bottle feeds every 1-2 hours, helping the kitten release fluids, washing her eyes carefully with a cotton bud like her mother would have licked clean and changing the warm water bottle regularly in order for her to stay warm in her carrier. I was sleep deprived but had an enormous amount of energy anytime I heard her murmur. It was such a memorable moment - to know that I was helping this once dumped kitten become stronger with each passing hour.
an animal in front of you and to know that forever that animal is going to be sheltered, loved and fed was what made the decision right. Volunteering to me is when you openly offer your hand or heart to someone, something or some place that might need that extra help. It is a selfless act, and I am so inspired by the millions of volunteers around Australia and the World. I do know that I have given second life chances to many kittens and cats thus far, but what the positive volunteering experience has done, and will continue to do, for me is undeniable.
It was touch and go at one stage though. I remember rushing her to the vet late one night after she had suddenly gone limp in my arm. I sat shaking and crying in my partner’s arms while they took her into the back room and told me the chances didn’t look good. Even with all the help you can give, sometimes baby animals don’t make it as the nutrients their mother can give them are invaluable. BUT fear not as she did make it. In fact, she made a full recovery and was soon on her way to her own home.
I open this to you, find the volunteer in you with something you feel passionate about...and don’t hold back.
People often ask how I can give away the kittens and cats at the end of the fostering period, and I won’t lie. It is definitely hard, and it didn’t get easier like people advised me it would. Many times I have begged my partner to let me keep one, but the agreement I made with him and with myself was that I would never get so attached that I couldn’t say goodbye. Seeing someone instantly fall in love with 24
Organisation in Profile: Uniting Aid by Janine Ripper I had the pleasure of meeting Lynette Foote, the Coordinator for Uniting Aid, in 2010, and was impressed by her enthusiasm and desire to help people. Let me tell you more about Uniting Aid, Lynette Foote and the amazing work that they do for the local community. under-privileged and disabled. Through working at UA Lynette has the perfect opportunity to help the people within her local community via practical assistance like providing them with food, clothing and assistance with day to day bills.
Lynette Foote: Uniting Aid Nollamara Coordinator
Volunteering Lynette whole heartedly believes that volunteering is a rewarding experience - it is a way people can provide a helping hand or a listening ear to those in need, as well as giving back to the community. It is also a way people can utilise their skills - those that many of us forget we have.
Lynette relocated to Western Australia from Queensland six years ago for a sea change experience, and fell in love with the place. Before starting work at Uniting Aid (UA), she worked in the Insurance industry for 21 years. She joined Uniting Aid 18 months ago as the Administration Assistant, before plunging into the role of Coordinator 12 months ago.
Before committing to a volunteering at UA, people are welcome to visit in order to gain more of an understanding of the services provided. Once on board, all volunteers are given training, support, and a uniform. As the Coordinator for UA, Lynette has first hand experience with the difficulty in finding and retaining volunteers. Availability is often an issue, as volunteers need to be available for rostered shifts. Volunteers also need to be willing to learn or perform a number of duties, some that include cleaning (sweeping and mopping
Lynette has always been a people person obvious from the first moment you meet her and witness that twinkle in her eyes and welcoming smile. She enjoys helping people and fighting for the rights of the 25
The Community and Uniting Aid by providing them with: • Education, helping clients learn ‘how’ to pay their bills, and providing tips on how to reduce bills i.e. electricity. • Information on Centrelink - such as Centrepay or voluntary income management programmes, and on things such as if a landlord isn’t providing the right maintenance on their rental home, etc.
floors and maintaining the kitchen and toilet facilities. Due to the diversity within the community, volunteers also need to be able to work with a variety of people from various ages and backgrounds.
• Referrals to financial counsellors so clients can apply for the HUGS grant (State Government Hardship Utility Grant Scheme).
UA could not function without it’s team of dedicated volunteers. Without them, UA would not be able to assist the large numbers of people needing help [In 2010 approximately 1800 clients visited UA, with assistance being provided to approximately 4,500 adults and children within the City of Stirling alone].
• Assistance with food, bills, fuel, clothing, linen, and kitchen / household items.
Uniting Aid UA was established 30 years ago by congregations from Dianella and Yokine in order to assist the needy in their communities with emergency relief. That was 15 years ago. UA now has a board of eleven members, and receives funding from Lotterywest, FaCHSIA (Federal Government) grants, and donations from local Uniting Churches and individuals without this support they would not be able to assist the many City of Stirling residences in need of support.
• Empowerment themselves.
There are a raft of volunteer positions available with Uniting Aid. For more information contact Lynette Foote at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Stirling has the highest population growth of Refugees and migrants in Australia. UA provide support to their clients, many who new to Australia, 26
My Experience Volunteering with JCI by Don Bales My journey in my professional as well as JCI career has been a challenging yet rewarding one, interestingly enough the reasons I started in JCI are different to the reasons why I’ve stayed. I joined JCI (Junior Chamber Interntational) in 2001 with the aim of being part of a prestigious organisation in order to help boost my career. Little did I know at the time, I was to be part of something big which in many ways has totally exceeded my expectations and have brought me many great memories.
something beyond my current career as I sense that I have a potential too great to ignore and confine within the four walls of my office. A friend told me that I am driving a Ferrari in a back street. I believe I am ready for change and it is time to drive the Ferrari on the highway. This can be a new chapter in my life at the onset of this new decade which will bring me closer to my lifelong dream of becoming a philanthropist. I want to be in a place where I do what I love and love what I do. JCI can be my vehicle to fulfill this dream as the JCI creed resonates with me. I wish to travel with JCI and be a messenger of inspiration. As such, it is with great honour that I volunteer and serve JCI Sydney having been elected as its President for this year.
JCI has given me the opportunity to visit many places and meet great people. It was through JCI that I’m able to contribute to my community and commit to something bigger than myself. I’ve been involved with JCI projects and training that allowed me to stretch outside of my comfort zone, think outside the box, and learn so many new things about the world. It was JCI that taught me the true measure of leadership - the ability to motivate my fellow volunteers to work towards a common goal. I look back at my JCI career and I take pride in what I have accomplished, as it has given me a sense of achievement. Most importantly, it was through JCI that I met life-long friends. In the same way that JCI has given me an enriching experience, it is my hope that others can experience the same through my involvement. At this juncture in my life, I am looking for something that I am passionate about. I want to explore
For more information on JCI http://www.jcisydney.org/
Helping in the Time of Need by Eva-Marie Salikhova With recent events in Queensland and Christchurch, Australian and New Zealand people are starting to become more aware of natural risks and disasters that may strike at any time. As young people, or even as people in general, we may feel helpless – whether we’re at the place of disaster or not. Both countries are almost at 2 degrees of separation – everyone knows someone who knows someone, and these tragedies are definitely affecting all. As young people, we aren’t helpless. Here are a few ways we can help: - Donate even 10% of this week’s pay to the key charity or organisations helping the disaster areas. If you can’t get to the city to help with your own hands, you may as well give something to help those already there. - Go along to your local Rotary, Rotaract, BPW or another youth, community or even business network where you may find other young people and brainstorm some ideas about how you can help as a young collective. Many hands are better than one! - Update your emergency kit at home. In a worst case scenario, make sure you’ll be able to survive to help others. - Fly to the city and lend a helping hand – many organisations are looking for volunteers to donate their time to go help a city in need. - Ask what your work can do – some have programs that have been allocated funds that allow employees do their bit for the country to go help. - If you have been involved in the tragedy, write into local and national media with your stories about what people can prepare for before a disaster strikes. You can help save others’ lives next time by doing so.
What did you do to help? What other tips or advise can you think of around what young people can do to help out in a time of need?
Doing Things from the Heart by Almetra Bethlehem When I first started volunteering, I didn’t expect that I was going to love and enjoy doing it. I was volunteering with the Gowrie Homework Support Group (HWSG) for almost three years. I walked into the program with an open mind and heart after deciding to volunteer. I had always wanted to work with refugees, and this was the perfect opportunity for me - and as usual I dragged my best friend Mei-Li with me.
Initially I was only going to volunteer for six months, but it ended up being longer. I enjoyed seeing the children making progress with their schoolings and I wanted to see them achieve. The volunteering experience also brought me closer to best friend Mei-Li. Volunteering can be another way to keep in contact with each other. People always ask me “Why volunteer? You are so busy!” My answer is always “Why not!" I enjoy volunteering and I do it because I want to. I also enjoy interacting with the children, tutors and their parents - plus I get to see my best friend every fortnight.
I didn’t know what to expect from the program, but the first day I entered the room full of children from different cultures and backgrounds I was comfortable right away. I loved the diversity and I fit right in. It reminded me of my high school days and it felt like home. In fact, other tutors actually mistook me for a student!
To me volunteering is something you do out of the goodness of your heart. You don't do it for recognition - you do it because you want to. It doesn’t pay you, but the reward far exceeds the monetary value.
Surprisingly volunteering wasn’t easy. There were challenges, such as language barriers, insufficient information from schools and a lack of commitment from some students. We helped them with understanding their homework, with reading, spelling, maths and research (although at times, I can be more of a distraction because we always ended up talking about other things than homework).
Volunteering is something you do out of the goodness of your heart. You don't do it for recognition - you do it because you want to.
The biggest reward from helping these children would be the bonding sessions and the friendship. We created friendships, trust, respect and a genuine interest in one another’s life. I also created friendships with the other tutors, students and even their parents. This made the volunteering experience more personal. 29
There are too many negative influences in the world and volunteering is another way to make the world a better place. You give your time, your heart, your understanding and your knowledge to others so that the legacy of being a kind human being continues.
So, go do your bit and volunteer at least once in your life time.
'Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.'
- Elizabeth Andrew 30
Volunteering in South Africa by Tanya Dupagne Growing up in Kwinana, just outside of Perth, I was told I'd never amount to anything because of where I was from - we used to hear it at school, from our friends, even from our teachers. When I mentioned 'university' everyone laughed, so being as stubborn as I was, I set out to prove everyone wrong. I successfully graduated with a Bachelor of Communications, and then spent a few years travelling and working overseas. When I finally returned to Australia, I realised the travel bug had bitten me bad! I'd always wanted to go to Africa, but everyone had told me it was too dangerous. I had a friend who was terminally ill with cancer at the time and he said to me, "life's too short. If you want to go, go". So I signed up for a volunteer program in Cape Town the next day. People thought I'd lost the plot - I was going to pay for my airfare, living expenses and agency fees, in order to spend three months working 80+ hours a week for free. The drive from Cape Town airport into the city amazed me - you went from nice 'normal' Aussie type houses one minute to the townships the next. The townships consisted of up to a million little shacks (imagine the run down garden shed in a lot of our backyards) crammed together in a flat land area, with up to 12 people (sometimes more) living in each of them, sharing a bathroom (tap in the middle of the dirt path) and toilet (those porta potty things they have at concerts that no-one likes using). I stayed with a host family, who made me feel like part of the family. I then spent three 31
months working in schools and townships. Every day, I dealt with cases of child abuse, rape, HIV AIDS, gang fights and shootings. It was hard at the best of times, and emotionally and physically draining. You never knew what the next day would bring. But every day, you would look at the smiling faces of the kids you were working with, and know it was worth the effort. Simple things, like painting a child's face, letting them play with my "Australian hair" for hours on end or simply taking the time to say hello and throw a ball around with them made their day. I remember one day when the line for lunch a sandwich, apple and juice box - was two hours long. There was no pushing or shoving, the kids simply stood in line for their food, accepting it with a big grin on their face.
We worked with these children sometimes up to 2000 each day - to teach them basic life skills they could use for the rest of their lives.
Cape Town Jazz (a cross between ballroom, latin and salsa that I learned in Africa), and they put on performances to raise money for the kids in Cape Town (and now Vietnam and Chile as well). So far, 1000 Kwinana kids have provided over 180,000 meals, Christmas parties for 5,000 kids, a nurse and medical supplies for a village, computers, school fees, school uniforms/equipment and much more for those less fortunate than themselves. The link between the two countries grows stronger all of the time, and both are fascinated by the other. I am so proud of the kids and their achievements as they show just what the kids of Kwinana really are capable of.
Seeing the turn around in these children was what made it worth it. Watching them get employment following the workshops we'd done with them was the best feeling. When it came time to leave, I struggled - so much so that I've been back 5 times! Every time I return to Kwinana I'm reminded of how lucky I am - I don't have to worry about getting hijacked at a red light, or scan for guns when I walk down a street. I have a house to live in, and I don't have to worry where my next meal will come from.
My time as a volunteer turned my life around, and whenever I have a bad day I remember what others are going through, and things don't seem as hard. I strongly recommend the volunteer experience to anyone who's considering it - and even anyone who isn't!
The kids of Kwinana have also stepped up. They are changing their community, as well as the Cape Town community for the better. After hearing my volunteering story, many of them joined my Dance 4 Africa program. I teach them to dance
Please Don't Pay Me by Jenny Geale I will always remember an exchange I had with a girl I had just met, and have never seen again, as we introduced ourselves at a function about a year ago:
I find myself thinking - Why are we so defined by what we “do”? How do we communicate a lifestyle choice without being judged, or sounding judgemental? Why is it unfathomable that a 24 year old may choose a life path other than a career? Why is voluntary work less valued? Why do I find myself reluctant to tell people I’m a full-time volunteer?
She: So, what do you do? Me: Well, until recently I was a management consultant. Now I do fundraising and some research with not-for-profits.
In April 2010 I left a job in management consulting at a Big 4 firm. I’d started there as a graduate two years earlier, but left to pursue a variety of volunteer opportunities (primarily with Room to Read and Volunteering Qld). It was a quick decision, based on a lot of thought, reflection and a growing understanding of my values.
She: Oh okay, like, paid? Or as a volunteer? Me: A volunteer. She: So...you don’t work? [Slight confused pause] “How do you eat? Me: Well, I guess my husband and I made the decision jointly for me to quit work, and so we survive on one income. She: Oh [Lightbulb moment] Your husband’s a Doctor! There are many things about this conversation that could inspire an article. They’ve certainly inspired much thought on my part, along with lively conversations with friends. Aside from the rich husband comment, I get this exact line of questioning almost every time I respond to the question “What do you do?”.
Why is there a stigma around voluntary work, suggesting it is less valued?
volunteer, and I want to challenge that perception. Over time I’ve discovered that people often think: Volunteering is something you do to get a ‘real’ job Even before I was studying, people would offer that as a suggestion as to why I was a volunteer. People have also given me well-meaning suggestions about how my volunteer ‘work’ will one day translate into something paid. It’s hard to explain that paid work is not on my radar and is not a motivator. So when faced with the “what do you do?” question I have a few answers. Which one I give depends on my assessment of the questioner and how I think they will respond:
Volunteer work is not as hard as a real job People have suggested it must be “nice” to be able to get away from the rat race and be a volunteer. Yeah right! I’ve never worked so hard in my life!
• “Until April last year I was in Management Consulting. I had been doing a few different volunteer activities on the side and I decided to give them a go fulltime”
Volunteer work is of less value than paid work The reaction I often get is one of patronising congratulations; that it’s really good of someone like me, who has time now, to use my time well. I find that people (not all, but some) can’t always comprehend that I could find unpaid work so much more fulfilling than paid work, that I might choose it over paid work and forsake a traditional ‘career path’.
Subtext: I don’t think you’re going to ‘get’ me being a full-time volunteer, or I think you’re going to judge it. So to preempt you, I want you to know I have a brain, I wasn't fired, and I’m not pregnant - I do this out of choice. • “I coordinate a group of volunteers in Brisbane supporting an international notfor-profit”.
Have you had a similar, or perhaps completely different experience?
Subtext: I don’t think you need the career background, but I don’t want to have ‘the volunteer’ discussion. •
Many would deny they hold those perceptions, but in many conversations I’ve seen those assumptions come through. I know my situation isn't the norm, and I appreciate that I'm blessed by circumstances that allow me to make the choices I have made. I also wonder whether it's fair to extrapolate from people’s reactions to the way I volunteer, to other forms of volunteer work, as I think
“I’m a full-time volunteer”
Subtext: I’m up for a laugh - let’s see what you say to that OR you’re a nice person, you’re in this space, you’ll get this. I have slowly weaned myself off of response one, which was my safety blanket. The truth is I have felt challenged by this perception regarding my choice to 34
there are more factors at work there (genuine curiosity, perhaps confusion and surprise). I believe this reveals some truths around the perception of volunteer work. In particular, that it is less complex and challenging, requires less responsibility and is merely a pathway to something better (or an outlet for ‘good deeds'). For me, volunteering presents countless opportunities I would not otherwise have, in a format that works for me and allows me the flexibility to create my own space. As I’m sure many other volunteers will agree, the challenges are bigger, but the rewards are even better. It’s just a shame that a lot of people (and allow me to generalise here from my own experience – especially those in the corporate world) don’t see the activity as having the same inherent value. I’ve failed to mention the wonderful people who unquestioningly and wholeheartedly support what I do and how I do it. I love each and every one of them. I also meet plenty of people who appreciate the depth of skills that volunteers can possess, understand that people are motivated in innumerably different ways, and value them accordingly. However the prevalence of either the ‘do-gooder’ label or the ‘CV-building-ladder-climber’ perception have me concerned. I think the world is missing out on wonderful people who want to contribute in countless ways for countless reasons. In the meantime, a big salute to the millions of Australians who volunteer each year. You know who you are, what you do and why you do it – and no matter what, you are amazing and you are making a difference. That’s all that matters!
...a big salute to the millions of Australians who volunteer each year. You know who you are, what you do and why you do it â€“ and no matter what, you are amazing and you are making a difference. Thatâ€™s all that matters!
Move Outside Yourself by Marisa Wikramanayake "Go out and do something - for other people - it will take you out of yourself."
When you are a child you believe the world consists of just you. And then, at some point, you realise it doesn't.
And then I realised that one of the things I had been missing was a sense of community and connection. Doing something for others was part of my upbringing, but life as a student in the US and Australia was so structured that outreach, connection, community didn't seem part of it at all. It didn't even seem viable.
I don't know exactly where the life example for volunteering came from - my parents were always busy people, but they did make time for others. There was always time to entertain someone who dropped in. There was always time for a long phone call with a family friend. Our guest room was open to people who needed it - in fact, that's why we had a guest room in the first place, instead of all the other things it could have been.
I realised that one of the things I had been missing was a sense of community and connection.
My parents taught me that my family consisted of more than just relatives - we tended to adopt people and then proceed to mother them to death - much to their annoyance!
So I volunteered.
We never cottoned on to this until later, when years after I had flown the coup - and despite my mother's attempts to get me to return home on a permanent basis - I insisted on still flying...that's when we realised I was struggling with bouts of depression. That may be due to our culture, as a lot of Sri Lankan women suffer from it, but just don't know it for what it is.
I tried to organise and run a volunteer support group at University. This is when I learnt that people expect you to do their thinking for them, and that you can't create a mini-community within a system that does not itself create a sense of community, especially among the students.
I volunteered at a charity shop where I learnt that I needed to volunteer somewhere where people were like me.
I volunteered for Oaktree. At the time there wasn't much of a system - it was more of a work in progress. From that I learnt that things have to be well organised so that everyone can do their job. aI also learnt that you have to volunteer for a place that respects you and your contribution.
My mother's instinctual reaction was to convince me to come home, and with the first occurrence I did. And then I flew again. And it happened again. But this time I didn't go home. Instead I was on the phone to my mother who told me: "You need to stop thinking about yourself so much."
So, I then nervously jumped into three different things that required three different skill sets - all of which I was
"What do you mean?" 37
reasonably good at:
goal and I wanted to support it.
1) Leadership and technology
I still suffer bouts of depression, but not as frequently or as badly as I used to. And nowadays I don't volunteer much - hold on, that's a lie. I am the voluntary convenor of the 2013 IPEd Conference (which is a very very scary thing to put your hand up for) and I am on occasion still doing voluntary editing work for the CPD.
2) Editing 3) Writing I can lead - I know that. I just don't like doing it because I don't like it when people don't think for themselves. But, I put my hand up to be on the Society of Editors WA committee because I knew they needed people, and they really needed me to run technological interference and to be a buffer of sorts for the membership [When things get ugly in the mailing list over whether "Shan't" should have one apostrophe or two - you could make the case for either but general acceptance is that it is one - and so on, that's when I have had to step in and calm people down]. And let's not talk about the state the website was in when I joined!
The point is that I now know where my life is going. I have work where I get paid to do something for the community. I am writing a book that I feel will help a lot of people. I have these little things I do on the side where someone (*cough* Janine Ripper, *cough*) challenges me to write something that hopefully helps other people. Or where someone else (*cough* Alicia Curtis, *cough*) says "Why don't you run a how to write a book group?" I also know that life gets out of sorts for me when I focus too much on myself or too little on myself. Volunteering is part of what maintains the balance and if I do too much, I overstretch myself.
I am an Editor and I am quite knowledgable as I read, voraciously. I also retain it [You need someone for your pub quiz night? I'm your girl!]. So I somehow found myself editing policy documents for the Centre for Policy Development. I get to edit government documents, I get to scold the analysts when they get their facts wrong...and they actually love me for it. And it's all voluntary.
I don't know about you. I don't know how you were brought up, so I am not about to say "This is what you should do." But I think you should consider volunteering as an option. You will learn a lot about yourself, and I think that's always a good thing.
I love music. I used to dance a lot - and still do. I needed clips for my portfolio when I first started writing so I wrote music reviews for RTR FM. I then saw a volunteer position and joined up. I volunteered for over a year, working at the front desk, organising the CD archive and being the bouncer at the events - Yes I was a bouncer (they call it "working at the door"). I must have been quite scary in a leather jacket petite little me - because they all lined up nicely and held their arms out to show me their wristbands. I actually didn't even like half the music they played, but I volunteered because I liked the station's 38
Maybe I'm a Selfish Volunteer? by Sonia Carson I've volunteered a lot over the years, but I must admit I have done more so in recent years. I can't really say why...I haven't actively sought out specific charities or actively pursued any volunteering. It's just kind of happened. If I'm honest with myself, maybe there's an underlying selfish motivator as I've always gained something from it. I've always participated in ad-hoc charity days. If I saw an ad or a friend mentioned a charity that needed help with a fundraiser, I've always been willing to give a few hours here and there. I never thought about it until I sat down to write this. It was then that I realised I've been involved with quite a few charities over the years.
speaker, but I also got free food and board in return for teaching four days per week. I probably got more out of it than the school, as I was able to relax and rejuvenate from travelling, as well as being able to learn the local culture. I was also adopted into the most beautiful Thai family. Yes, I helped some wonderful kids, but in all honesty their main priority was tending their farms and feeding their families before school, and I'm not sure many would ever get any benefit from meeting me (although I did have a little posse who made the most of every break to seek me out and improve their English. Hopefully it will help them earn money in the future.
About seven years ago I taught English in Thailand. Why? I'd been backpacking for a few months and the chance to stay in one place for a month or two, and to immerse myself in local culture was a great opportunity. It was going to be great for a remote community to be taught by a native
I've also helped to build a community
charity I've fundraised and volunteered for. It's similar to Guide Dogs, but for people that are wheel chair bound, and is an amazing charity. Do you know what I get out of it? I get to play with puppies, and there's nothing better than having a fund raiser with puppies. I've seen corporate men, get down on the floor in their suits to play with a puppy. People burst into grins at the chance to pat a puppy or shake a paw, it's fun, and it's making such great achievements. It's growing in Perth, and hopefully I'll be able to help with that. Why? Because I have so much fun playing with the puppies. I never come home from a volunteering or fundraising event without a big smile on my face.
library in Laos, where I got the chance to hang out with a great group of people, and feel like I did something worthwhile in a poor, remote community. Sure, the funds could have possibly been put to better use for the community, but when there's so much poverty you have to start somewwhere.
I'm sure I've done good over the years, but I'm also sure that I've always gotten more out of it than I've put in. If you're thinking about it, but aren't sure, maybe see what skills you want to develop, professionally or personally. Maybe it's a selfish way to think about it, but if it helps you while you're helping them, then great. Who knows, you might just end up getting more out of it than you think!
I've been involved with the Life Changing
Experiences foundation (Sassi. I was in a new job in a relatively new city. There was a woman I had a lot of respect for who needed 10 women to help her meet her fundraising targets. This was a great chance for me to meet other professional women from our organisation, and from Sydney in general.
You might just end up getting more out of it than you think!
I've had the opportunity to project manage, run events, get involved with marketing and generate creative ideas. They aren't on my CV, but they are skills I had wanted to build on. It was also a chance to raise funds for young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and give them a positive role model. I saw girls who were heading for a terrible life turn themseleves around and become extraordinary young women. The charity has grown. From starting in Sydney, it's now established in Melbourne and someday soon will hopefully expand into all our other capital cities. Assistance Dogs Australia is another 40
Love Thy Volunteers
by Linda Le
Volunteer contributions equate to billions of dollars annually across the globe. In 2009 it was estimated that America donated 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service which equates to $169 billion). Narrowing this down to Western Australia alone, in 2006 an estimated $6.6 billion of time was contributed to community service! This may seem obvious, but it is often missed by larger organisations. What can you get your volunteers to do? What are their talents and strengths, and what do they enjoy doing? How can you make their role mean something to them?
What does this all mean? There is no doubt that volunteerism is the backbone of society and an invaluable contribution. Whether people volunteer for intrinsic reasons or extrinsic reasons, the majority of us are fortunate to have the capacity to contribute to society and help others in some way.
Ask for input What ideas do your volunteers have for improvement? What are their thoughts about the current processes, and how can they help put some of these ideas into fruition? Listen to them.
I've been a volunteer on many levels over the years and there is nothing more important than recognising the value of volunteers, and in utilising that advantage to enhance the worlds of both the volunteer and the cause or purpose.
Provide autonomy Would they like to have more responsibility? How can you provide guidance, but not dictate their role? Provide them with the training, information and support they need in order to fulfill their role.
Here are some ideas to help inspire the volunteer within
Acknowledge special occasions Give them a birthday or Christmas card.
Get to know your volunteers
Acknowledge moments when volunteers have to pull back
Find out what motivates your volunteers. What is their communication style? What types of rewards and recognition do they prefer? Why do they volunteer? Do they volunteer for intrinsic or extrinsic reasons? How can you use that knowledge to enhance their volunteering experience?
Be understanding and supportive of the things that crop up in life that may impact on their ability or time to volunteer. Celebrate success and acknowledge contributions Provide certificates or reference letters
Give your volunteers something to do 41
Keep in contact Communicate regularly. Why not create a newsletter to keep your volunteers informed? Make them feel that they belong. Celebrate success and acknowledge contributions Provide certificates or reference letters Keep in contact Communicate regularly. Why not create a newsletter to keep your volunteers informed? Make them feel that they belong.
As they say, look after your people first, and the rest will follow.
activating emerging leaders
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Emergen is a collaborative community activating emerging young leaders.
Emergen Bloggers In Profile
Alicia Curtis Alicia is one of Australiaâ€™s most experienced mentors of young leaders. She has managed her own leadership development consultancy since 2002, working with thousands of young people aged 12 - 35 years old. Aliciaâ€™s talent is in developing engaging leadership programs that inspire young professionals to step up in their careers and community. Alicia currently leads Emergen, an online community that activates young emerging leaders through connection to people and resources, providing inspirational education programs and promotional opportunities. Alicia has just launched her second blog called Revolutionary Lives where she shares why people need to become a revolutionary in order to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Jarrad Brown Jarrad is an Investment Adviser at Patersons Securities Ltd having graduated from Curtin University with First Class Honours in Finance. Jarrad has a particular passion for community involvement as Director of Fundraising for the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley and his efforts saw him awarded the WA Youth Citizen of the Year Award. Jarrad is currently a Board Member of the John Curtin Leadership Academy and involved in the annual fundraising event, Convicts for a Cause.
Marisa Wirakramanayake Marisa plays with words for a living as a writer, editor and journalist. Science Network WA pays her to talk to fascinating scientists, prior to which she penned a four year long weekly column about politics, popular culture and life in Perth for The Sunday Leader newspaper which now continues here. She occasionally gets to listen to and write about the latest independent music but she constantly plays games, takes photos and writes about books she has read. When she isn't working, she's - well working: on her novel 'Sedition'. She also runs the How to write a book group on Emergen.
Sonia Carson Originally from England, Sonia arrived in Australia in 2005, and has recently moved to Perth. Sonia works in Business Development, and over the years has had numerous opportunities to participate in volunteer/ charity work where she has learnt new skills, met wonderful people, and hopefully been able to help out a little along the way. Sonia loves travelling, and has a variety of hobbies. She has a passion for trying anything new.
Almetra Bethlehem Almetra works for the Department of the Attorney General as a Senior Records Officer. Her father is from the Netherlands and her mother is from Indonesia. Almetra's special interests are community work, international politics and working with people from diverse backgrounds. Almetra volunteers with the Lady of Gowrie Community Centre as a Homework Support Tutor helping refugee children with their homework. She also loves volunteering because she has always wanted to work with people from diverse multicultural backgrounds and had the desire to give something back to the community since Australia has supported her and her family. 47
Alexander Kerr Alexandra is currently completing a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Public Relations and Journalism. She lives in Brisbane with her boyfriend and their four cats. Writing keeps her centred and helps her to see the funny side of life, so she started her blog ‘Life: Past, Present and PR’ in 2011. Alexandra’s love and passion for animals has always been second nature to her and she hopes from her volunteering story people can understand just why four legged fur babies touch her heart. Alexandra’s home is known as “Kitty Kingdom” and she couldn’t be happier about it.
Tiang Cheng Tiang has been blogging since before the term weblog came about, and he had to write in HTML code on websites like Geocities and Tripod. He has been involved in IT for over 10 years, most recently as Director of a digital agency helping businesses become more successful. He serves on a number of non-profit committees and also works on community based projects, through programs such as Rotaract and Emergen. In his free time he is a presenter on a technology show called "GeekSpeak", and hacks his smartphones (iPhone and Android). Tiang dreams of playing Starcraft 2 competitively in South Korea one day.
Lauren Taylor For the last two years Lauren has been working as a Career Development Consultant within the Curtin Careers Centre at Curtin University. Prior to that Lauren worked in a mixed student recruitment and careers unit at Edith Cowan University. Her first job was as an graduate was with PVS Workfind as an Employer Assistance Consultant as a case manager for long term and highly disadvantaged unemployed individuals. What she likes most about her current job is the variety of skills she can develop, activities she engages in and the mix of interaction with both students and faculty academics. Outside of work, Lauren likes to be active and enjoy diving, travelling, swimming, bike riding and running. Surf Life Saving has been a big part of her life, and she is a long service club members. Both of her parents are life members and are still actively involved in many ways today. Lauren belongs to Trigg Surf Life Saving Club, where the motto is "Developing lives, Saving lives." The opportunities she has been able to have as a result of being a Trigg Island member, have shaped her as a person and truly reflects the importance of volunteering in individual and community development.
Jenny Geale Jenny is a young person with a passion for helping others have an impact on the world around them. After spending two years as a strategy consultant with a top-tier firm, she decided to follow her passion for social change and devote her time to the non-profit sector. Jenny is now leading the Room to Read Chapter in Brisbane, which has a network of over 300 local supporters and several large initiatives underway for 2011, following the successful visit of Room to Read Founder and Board Chair John Wood in March (where over $300,000 was raised). She is focused full-time on the Chapter and furthering the outcomes of the research project conducted with Volunteering Qld, Youth Leading Youth. The project aimed to discover and document innovative models of engagement in volunteer organisations led by young people. The research has expanded into a suite of projects which include case studies, workshops for not-for-profits and establishing a youth-focused volunteer network. Jenny is currently completing a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and a Master of Development Practice at UQ. When not immersed in the world of not-for-profits, Jenny is usually trying to improve her mountain biking skills or reading a good book.
Linda Le Linda is a graduate from Curtin University of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Honours in Public Health. During her time at university, Linda has participated in the John Curtin Leadership Academy and is now the President on the Alumni Council. Linda has a background working in public health focusing on the prevention alcohol and other drugs; tobacco control; and preventative health. She has helped develop a state wide program which was effective in training, mentoring and coaching Rotarians right across WA to become Champions within their own clubs to implement a healthy lifestyle initiative. Through her involvement in every aspect of the program, Linda has developed a keen interest in coaching which has led her to complete an International Coach Federation certificate in Executive Coaching. Linda is a also member of the Rotary Club of Mt Lawley. Linda currently runs her own private business which aims to help organisations achieve a more productive and profitable workforce through providing strategies in bridging the intergenerational gap. Her passion lies in the creation of inspirational leaders that are able motivate, engage and develop young employees to maximise their potential.
Piriyie Altiraide Piriyie is an African-born Aussie, who was mostly raised in Perth but is a child of the world. Piriyie loves to travel, write and experience culture and the arts, currently occupies her days in accountancy, and has hopes to eventually write full-time. Rotaract and volunteering are also a huge part of Piriyie's life. Not so secretly, she is toying with the idea of the 'great move' to Melbourne, lured by the suggestion of greater culture and passion. There's only one way to find out! Finally she believes you only live once, so one must Carpe Diem!
Janine Ripper Janine holds a Bachelors degree in Communications – Majoring in Film and Media, and – after years of wondering what she was doing in life she found herself in Project Management. That was over 6 years ago, and it’s been an interesting experience with some amazing career highlights, such as winning an award for excelling in Project Management and being sent to Hawaii for a company junket! Which brings Janine to today: Over the last year Janine has rediscovered her love for writing, as well as a new one – blogging! She is currently the National Blogging Coordinator for Emergen. In her role, she aims to encourage others to use blogging as a tool for social change, as well as develop the blogging community, and the bloggers as well as those yet to blog) on Emergen. Janine is the creator, photographer and writer of Reflections from a Red Head - http://reflectionsfromaredhead.com - where she has just commenced a series titled ‘The Beauty of Difference’. In the wise words of Confucius: ‘Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it’. This is what she aims to change, through the use of words, interviews, guest posting, and photography. 53
Tanya Dupagne Tanya Dupagne was elected as the youngest Councillor on the Town of Kwinana Council in 2009. She has worked extensively with young people in the Kwinana community, runs the Dance 4 Africa program, Koorliny Arts Centre Boys Club and Girls Club, and is the Co-ordinator for the Kwinana Children's Choir. She works as the Programs & Marketing Manager at the Koorliny Arts Centre, runs programs in a number of schools, is involved with the Town of Kwinana Youth Mentoring and LyriK programs and sits on numerous community committees. She has also spent large amounts of time working with underprivileged and at risk children in America, South Africa and Vietnam. Tanya has won many awards for her work within her community, including the Premier's Active Citizenship Award, Town of Kwinana Citizen of the Year, Martin Waudby Leadership Award, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, the 2008/2009 SPARK Mentoring Program through the Australia Council for the Arts and the 2010 Children's Week Awards Meerilinga Adult Award of Recognition.
Don Bales Don Bales is the President of the 2011 Junior Chamber International â€“ Sydney Chapter and is active in creating opportunities for young Australians to enable them to create positive change through involvement in community projects, training programs, business and social events, and international functions. In 2006, he was awarded the Most Outstanding JCI Member in Asia Pacific and in the Philippines. He is a JCI Certified National Trainor and was also awarded Most Outstanding Trainor by JCI Australia in 2010. His most notable JCI projects include organising the JCI Sydney delegation to the 1st Australian Chambers Business Congress, leading the Business Networking Event for JCI Philippines in 2006, organizing the Ten Outstanding Students of Makati in 2003, reviving the all-female JCI chapter in Makati City all of which demonstrated his strong leadership, project planning, and organizational skills. He has travelled in various cities across America, Europe, and Asia Pacific where he was able to establish good networks with young professionals and entrepreneurs. Apart from his JCI credentials, Don also has an experience being a Senior Manager for Accenture, one of the worldâ€™s largest management and I.T. consulting firm working with various clients internationally.
Belinda Vecchio Belinda Vecchio is a true example of the heart of a volunteer. She has a strong passion to use her skills to help those less fortunate and make a difference in the world. Since her late teens Belinda realised she had an interest in helping others and whilst working full-time as a draftsperson in the Engineering field in which she is qualified and is still working, she voluntarily started assisting non-profit organisations with fundraising for their worthwhile causes. 19 years later Belinda has been the heart and driver behind countless fundraising activities, providing awareness and much needed financial support, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for humanitarian projects that reduce suffering and provide education, training and support to children and communities in crisis. Belinda self-funds all of her travel expenses and is an advocate for assisting people with a hand up and not a hand out. Wealth With A Cause was founded in 2007 from an overwhelming response to Belindaâ€™s personal fundraising success and global humanitarian interests and experiences. www.WealthWithACause.org
Ally Millington Ally has over 5 years experience in the events industry. After various administration positions Ally went to TAFE and then University to completed a business degree majoring in Tourism and Event Management. Whilst at uni Ally worked with various event industry companies such as EECW, Meeting Masters and EMRC. Upon graduation Ally securied a position as a Conference & Events Coordinator with the Rendezvous Hotel in Scarborough. Now, Ally works with the Property Council of Australia as and Events CoOrdinator and regularly runs Breakfasts, Lunches, Awards Nights and Corporate Golf Days for the Property Industry. Ally has been involved with Emergen over the last two years after meeting Alicia Curtis at an events industry function. Ally is currently the Competitions Co-Ordinator for Emergen - a role in which she is enjoying. Other activities outside of work that Ally enjoys are geneology, photography and playing the piano.
Amanda Joseph Amanda is a screenwriter, philosopher at heart, environmentalist and globe-trotter. She is currently undertaking a Master of Science in Sustainability Management and juggling full time work as an Environment Officer, as well as well as branching out into the film industry. For more on Amanda, check out her blog: http://confessionsofagreenqueen.blogspot.com