Give a little, change a lot
The National Volunteer Week theme for 2018 – Give a little, change a lot – gave me pause to reflect on these words and consider just how much a seemingly ‘small’ contribution can affect an organisation.
Regular readers will be aware that I hold volunteers in high praise and celebrate their contribution all year round.
However, National Volunteer Week, from May 21 to 27, is a perfect time to shine the spotlight on the contribution volunteer-involving organisations make within their communities.
Last month I spoke about how volunteer service enhances an organisation, but have you ever wondered what the reverse effect is and what the volunteers get out of donating their time?
Whether it’s the opportunity to learn a new skill or being given a chance to enjoy some new experiences, the list of pros for volunteering is a long one.
And, while we all know that a desire to help others and a sense of personal satisfaction are among the reasons people choose to volunteer, did you know that some of the other benefits for the individual include positive mental and physical health, including lowered blood pressure?
From the interactions with other volunteers, staff or service users, getting out of the home, or simply being kind and expecting nothing in return, the ‘feel good’ endorphins released when doing a job for the sole purpose of helping others have been proven to have a positive impact on mental health.
Too often volunteers are incredibly bashful when it comes to their service being recognised, with most commenting that they’re ‘just doing their bit’.
Yes, but your ‘bit’ added to the ‘bit’ other volunteers contribute makes a world of difference.
So this National Volunteer Week I say thank-you to all volunteers, service users and volunteer-involving organisations.
You all deserve a big pat on the back for your contribution and I look forward to catching up with you during the National Volunteer Week celebrations happening across the Wimmera-mallee.
Changing lives, strengthening communities. Julie Pettett is Centre for Participation chief executive