Giving a little back
Voluntary work pays off in feeling good, writes Cara Jenkin
WOMEN are more likely to volunteer than men, with on average about one in three people giving up their time to help others, new figures show.
Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 38 per cent of women volunteered in 2010 compared to 34 per cent of men.
People who were employed were more likely to volunteer, with 44 per cent of part-time staff and 38 per cent of fulltime workers giving up their time.
Twenty per cent of unemployed and 31 per cent of people not in the labour force were volunteers.
Children’s involvement in sport was one of the reasons behind most volunteers being involved with sport and physical recreation organisations, for which 63 per cent of volunteering fathers and 47 per cent of volunteering mothers donated their time.
People aged over 65 were most likely to volunteer for welfare and community organisations.
Australian Craniofacial Foundation volunteer Sharon Forrester-jones, 51, has been organising fundraising and other events for the foundation for the past five years.
But she has volunteered with different charities for about the past 10 years.
‘‘ A lot of people think that a volunteer is somebody who gives their time and makes others feel better but in fact I feel better,’’ she says.
‘‘ I’ve led such a fortunate life and feel pretty lucky and love to give something back.
BY THE NUMBERS
Those who volunteer their time include:
44 per cent of part-time workers.
38 per cent of full-time staff.
20 per cent of unemployed people.
31 per cent of those not in the labour force.
‘‘ It’s a little bit selfish really. I think I get more out of it than other people do.’’
The foundation raises funds to support the Australian Craniofacial Unit, in particular, to provide and develop
66 per cent of volunteers say their parents did voluntary work.
27 per cent of volunteers also provide care to someone with a disability, long-term health condition or old age problems, compared to 17 per cent of non-volunteers. craniofacial services in Australia and Third World countries.
She says seeing the happiness in the people the foundation helps is a great feeling.
‘‘ It can really alter a life, or lives,’’ she says.
‘‘ I’m very lucky. I have got a wonderful support network around me.’’
She usually does some voluntary work every day, whether it’s making one phone call or spending four hours working on a function, and juggles her volunteer work with working at her husband’s engineering business.
She encourages other people to take a look at volunteering what time they can give.
‘‘ The rewards are enormous,’’ she says.
‘‘ The feel-good hormones that it releases into your system, to see such a difference your hard work does to someone else, is a wonderful thing.’’
HAPPY HELPER: Craniofacial Foundation volunteer Sharon Forrester-jones assists specialist surgeon Professor David David.