As part of National Volunteer Week, individuals and groups across the country are this week sharing stories about the benefits of volunteering for those offering their time as well as those on the receiving end of this support. Established by Volunteering Australia in 1989, this annual period of reflection and giving thanks is the ideal time to consider your contribution to the local community and the type of volunteering opportunity that might appeal to you.
Countless volunteering opportunities exist within our region, from tree-planting to driving those with disabilities to mentoring youth musicians, and research has shown that the act of giving without expecting anything in return improves your mental wellbeing. Combine this benefit with the meaningful social connections you can form and the skills you can acquire through volunteering, and the question is not ‘should I volunteer’, it’s ‘when can I start’?
To find the right volunteering position for your skills, interests and lifestyle, begin by asking yourself these key questions:
If you like to jump into the physical action, you’re more likely to prefer volunteer firefighting over assisting in historical restorations. If a slower pace is more your style, you might like to offer companionship to seniors or those with disabilities.
If you decide you definitely don’t want to work with children or animals, your choices will be narrowed down considerably. If you decide you only want to work with animals, there might only be a few choices close to home.
Some volunteers are motivated by personal involvement or connections with those they are assisting. Perhaps you have enjoyable memories of your own sporting team as a child and feel committed to helping a kids’ sports team be their best. Or you have seen the effects of a disease such as Parkinson’s on a loved one and can imagine nothing more important than assisting other sufferers.
You should only volunteer the amount of time that feels comfortable for you, because you don’t want to end up viewing volunteering as a chore down the track. Certain opportunities allow you to get the family or colleagues involved too, which is worth bearing in mind when trying to balance your various commitments.
Visit the Maroondah City Council website for information on opportunities in Melbourne’s east. You might also consider sharing your valuable skills and time with these local organisations that Eastland is proud to support:
From coaching to first aid to photography to event planning, there is a vast array of ways to support your local football or netball club while picking up new skills and friends along the way. Visit efl.org.au
Contributing your time to make sure a fundraising event runs smoothly is one of many ways you can help protect children from violence through the AMF - register your interest here.