Reflections on the National Volunteer Week 2019

Volunteering a pillar of strength in our community, making an estimated annual contribution worth$290 billion dollars a year to our annual economic and social good.

 Commemorating 30 Years of National Volunteer Week at NSW Parliament House, affirmed that positive changes that can be brought about through the efforts of volunteers.

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering presents an opportunity for learning about the many ways we can participate in the community. Gemma Rygate, CEO for the Centre for Volunteering instilled a personal belief in filling unmet needs in the community. 

Volunteers play a role in enriching the community and bridging gaps in service delivery. Rygate emphasised that, “Volunteers yield a 450% return for every dollar invested in social, cultural and economic terms. Most of us wish that our investments had that much value.”

Without volunteers, we would not be able to make a meaningful contribution to causes we care about or improve the wellbeing of the community.

The impact of volunteerism goes beyond the monetary contribution towards the betterment of the community. At the reception I realised that I have embarked on a volunteer journey which began with asking “what can I do for you?” rather than thinking about myself.

Volunteering at its core is about service. It places me in a position where I am cognizant towards the needs of others, rather than seeking an outcome which reflects my own beliefs about how to solve a problem.

Adopting this mindset has given me an immeasurable amount of joy and made me value listening to someone else’s story. The passion for volunteering that the conference attendees exuded, made me wonder what makes a person want to make a positive contribution. 

Upon Rygate making a ‘Cheers to the six million volunteers in Australia’, we raised a glass to finding out more about the joy of giving back. We awaited hearing the insights into volunteering that Gareth Ward; Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services had to offer.

Pictured: Gemma Rygate, CEO of the Centre for Volunteering NSW

“Every week should be volunteer week”

More than 2.1 million people volunteer in NSW, contributing 240 million hours of their time to causes or organisations they are passionate about. Ward revealed that volunteers enhance the wellbeing of the community, “What we miss in remuneration, is made up for in the passion for the people they serve.”

“Lives can be changed as a result of the gift of charity and the passion of people who volunteer.”

People volunteer for different reasons and it is important to find out their why. Community service formed the bedrock of Ward’s early life and ignited his passion for encouraging others to give back. 

“Volunteering was almost mandatory in my household. I believe that every week should be National Volunteer Week, volunteering is emblematic of service above self.”

A question I will endeavour to ask myself everyday is ‘how can I impact upon someone else’s life?’. Trying to do one good thing everyday, is a small action I can take to embrace the spirit of making a world of difference.

Written by Annie Renouf, Content Writer at Communiteer.

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