National Student Volunteer Week (August 7-13) acknowledges and celebrates student volunteers and promotes volunteering to young people across Australia.
The theme this year is Give. Grow. Belong.
Give: Share your time, skill or talent in any way you can.
Grow: Realise that personal wellbeing comes from giving to others.
Belong: Doing something together forges deep connection.
Libby and Josanne’s volunteering work at The Benevolent Society not only helped them fulfill their passion to support children and families, but it also opened career opportunities to them.
Both started out as volunteers here before successfully gaining casual employment with us recently.
Libby was also part of our Student Placement Program, which places high-quality tertiary students, usually in their final years of study, across all parts of the organisation to gain on-the-job work experience.
The Gold Coast duo are working as child development workers as they complete their studies. Libby is in her final year of study (Bachelor of Social Work) as is Josanne (Bachelor of Counselling). Both are supporting our facilitators in the Sing, Move and Play groups and Multicultural Groups across our four Gold Coast Centres.
Volunteering has made the transition to employment with us much easier. “I already knew about the work culture, the practical implementation of The Benevolent Society’s values, and had met a few staff members through my volunteering experience,” Josanne says.
Libby added: “I felt comfortable around the team and had a basic understanding of the framework and policies which I can now build upon that knowledge to help me transition into a great practitioner.”
Volunteering gives students an opportunity to develop meaningful connections with organisations in their field of interest.
“The services offered by the The Benevolent Society looked interesting and I wanted to find out more about them,” Josanne says. “I like the work culture that exists in the Gold Coast team, where staff are very supportive, respectful and withhold the organisation’s values not only with clients but also amongst themselves.”
Libby adds: “Working with families and children can be very rewarding knowing I made a difference to their day/week.”
Just go for it!
There’s been a significant decline in volunteering in Australia, particularly when it comes to young people, largely due to the impact of COVID-19.
After gaining numerous benefits from their experience, Libby and Josanne encourage other students to consider volunteering.
"Volunteering is an opportunity to put into practice theories and knowledge gained during courses,” Josanne says. “It also enhances your confidence, reducing your imposter syndrome during placements. Such experiences also can help you to decide whether this is the right area you want to work in, or which areas most interest you.
“Volunteering also benefits you in promoting positive emotions, connections, meaning and getting involved with your community.”
Libby added: “Just go for it! It does not require a big commitment each week and you learn so much.”
For more information on volunteering, call 1800 236 762 or click here.