December 5 marks International Volunteer Day, an important day in which we recognise the tireless work of volunteers not only within our organisation but across the globe.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of many organisations and The Benevolent Society is no different. We have about 140 volunteers who donate their time across a range of our services including The Women’s Space Program, Social Support, Read With Me Program and Home Visiting among others.
“The theme for this year’s International Volunteer Day is Solidarity and this affirms the strong connection our volunteers have with our organisation and, most importantly, our clients,” says Kirsty Stewart, The Benevolent Society’s People & Cultures Processes Manager. “This day is an opportunity to say thank you again to all our volunteers for continuing to be part of our organisation and the services we provide.”
Gaining Skills and Experience
Volunteering offers vital help to people in need but it can also benefit volunteers. Nicole, who volunteers at The Women’s Space on the Gold Coast, says it’s a chance to connect with others. “It’s a way to meet new people and give back to the community by helping others,” she says. “It’s great way to gain knowledge and experience while having fun and providing you with a sense of purpose.”
Not just an activity for retirees, volunteer work is becoming increasingly popular for students and graduates to gain skills and work experience to help their careers. After volunteering with The Benevolent Society for over a year, Nicole now works with us as an administration officer “Volunteering allowed me to explore my interests in certain areas that enabled a better understanding of what I was really interested in as a young adult starting university,” she says. “It was a great way to gain hands on experience in my area of interest to further my career development.”
Similarly, Daniel, who volunteers at the Labrador Early Years Centre, says it’s a fantastic opportunity to put into practice what he learned from completing his Diploma of Social & Psychological Science.
“It allowed me to meet people, whilst learning practical skills and implementing academic skills,” he says.
Becoming A Volunteer
Across Australia, it is estimated that nearly 6 million people volunteer through an organisation annually.
For Nicole and Daniel, International Volunteer Day is a chance to raise awareness for the important role volunteers play in helping the community and the world.
“Through collective action, solidarity and willingness to help others, volunteering has a great positive impact on our planet,” Nicole says. According to Volunteer Australia, volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain. If you have capacity to donate your time, volunteering is definitely a pursuit worth considering. “What has surprised me the most is the fulfilment I feel after a shift,” Daniel says. “Whatever your passion is, I would say firsthand the experience will be rewarding.”
Nicole adds: “The most rewarding reason I became a volunteer was to see the impact that my contributions had in the community; whether it was from helping to organise an event to having a conversation with someone that may need that interpersonal communication. Helping others gives me a sense of purpose.”
If you’re interested in joining our volunteer program or know someone who would benefit, call us on 1800 236 762.