This week (13th-19th August), we are celebrating National Student Volunteer Week! NSVW aspires to challenge and celebrate young people who are striving to make change through volunteering. We want to shine a light on all volunteers and give you a better understanding of the benefits volunteering can provide.
Now in its sixth year, NSVW encourages more meaningful and innovative student engagement. To help students realise not only how much of a difference they can make, but pivoting the way they volunteer, to be more creative and genuine in the way they can help and move others.
Volunteering is worth more to the Australian economy than the mining industry! Volunteers contribute over $200 billion annually.
You might be under the impression that volunteering is only for passionate students or those who are retired. That’s not the case, nor should it be. Volunteers can be people of any age, in any occupation. From students volunteering to gain experience for work, to CEO’s volunteering at their local surf club, there’s something special about giving back to your community.
Once we sink into habitual routines, we seem to think that our lives are busier than they actually are, it’s just a matter of what we prioritise and what we choose to focus our energy on.
Volunteering is an activity that someone chooses to do without being paid. It can be informal, such as babysitting for a friend or helping family with repairs, or formal, which is usually through a community organisation or charity.
Volunteering has a range of benefits, for the people you’re helping, but also for yourself. Volunteering means engaging with the wider community, which can strengthen social ties and prevent isolation. It can give people a purpose, a source of fulfillment, and can in turn, improve your self-esteem and wellbeing. Volunteering is a practical way to learn new skills.
Whether it is environmental, recreational, sport related, academic- however you choose to engage with the wider community will depend on your own interests.
Volunteering may not look the same for everyone. While most formal volunteering opportunities engage you with the wider community, boost your wellbeing and give you a purpose, certain kinds of informal volunteering can be incredibly taxing. In 2015 there were 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia. Caring can be a rewarding experience but it can also be challenging. More than half (55%) of primary carers provide care for at least 20 hours per week, making it equivalent to a part-time job, while most are already participating in the workforce outside of caring. It’s important to know where to get help when it’s needed.
Call Carers NSW Carer Line on 1800 242 636 and speak to a Carer Support Officer about your counselling needs.
Carers NSW provide a range of information and resources to assist carers in New South Wales.
On their website you will find information on carer support programs, education and training, policies and more.
It’s important that we recognise and value volunteers, whether informal or formal, and the time and effort they provide to serve friends, family and the wider community.
While volunteering may pose challenges, it’s incredibly rewarding. Volunteering provides people with the opportunity to engage with their community, giving people a purpose, a source of fulfillment, and improve self-esteem and wellbeing.
Become a volunteer- make new friends, follow your interests, participate in meaningful activities with purpose, help your community, make a difference, and know, that you are valued!
Resources for Volunteers:
ReachOut.com suggests ways to look after yourself while volunteering. This can be useful for those volunteering already, or to people who are considering it. The 5 ways they suggest you look after yourself while volunteering is to:
- Organise your time
- Know your limits
- It’s okay to say ‘no’
- Have some fun
- Treat yourself
Search for opportunities to volunteer using the above link.
Explains the purposeful activity of volunteering and provides further resources.
Partner with the ConnectAbility Community
ConnectAbility recognises, values and acknowledges our community and corporate partners. Without your assistance we would not be able to offer as many quality outcomes for local people living with a disability.
ConnectAbility has a number of volunteering opportunities throughout our organisation.
You may wish to be part of our “Community Buddies” Program. This initiative links participants and trained volunteers based on their mutual interests and shared location to participate in common interests and activities within our disability service.
We also look for volunteers to assist older members of the community to shop, attend appointments or enjoy our friendship groups. This is where people are able to come together either for a meal, entertainment and good company or be out and about in the community together.
Volunteers may also take part in one of the many community activities organised through our Jesmond Neighbourhood Centre. Whether it is helping to set up activities, support the community garden or assist at an event.
There are a number of ways organisations can assist whether through including someone with a disability in your community group or workplace, a volunteer role, workplace giving program, supporting fundraising activities or specific projects.
If you are interested in volunteering and would like more information on different volunteer roles and opportunities with ConnectAbility please call
(02) 4962 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org