Give a lit­tle, change a lot

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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

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