Toy Li­brary great for learn­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - CON­VER­SA­TIONS - GILLIAN WHITE Gillian White is Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral Se­nior Co­or­di­na­tor

Many vol­un­teer roles are very vis­i­ble within the com­mu­nity, so it’s easy to over­look the count­less hours put in by vol­un­teer com­mit­tees and boards. Lana John vol­un­teers her time at the Alexan­dra Toy Li­brary where she has been on the com­mit­tee for four years and pres­i­dent for the last three.

Lana grew up in Alexan­dra be­fore study­ing in Dunedin and liv­ing in Aus­tralia and the UK. She re­turned to Alexan­dra in 2009 with her Bri­tish hus­band as they both love the Cen­tral Otago life­style and com­mu­nity and were keen to bring up their chil­dren here.

Lana works as a regis­tered nurse and is mum to two young girls so has plenty to keep her busy, so why did she get in­volved in the Toy Li­brary?

‘‘I joined when my first daugh­ter was a baby. The com­mit­tee were look­ing for more mem­bers and I wanted to help. At that stage I wasn’t work­ing and it was great to spend time con­tribut­ing and so­cial­is­ing with adults! I like do­ing my bit for the com­mu­nity and love work­ing in a team of vol­un­teers. The learn­ing has been much more than ex­pected; pro­cesses such as fund­ing, be­ing an em­ployer, so­cial me­dia and in­ter­ac­tions with coun­cil and the na­tional body. I get a lot of in­spi­ra­tion and en­ergy from the other vol­un­teers, es­pe­cially when most are also busy be­ing par­ents and work­ing. They have be­come friends, and it re­minds me what won­der­ful peo­ple we have here.’’

Lana is pas­sion­ate about the role and is com­mit­ted to do­ing the best job pos­si­ble.

‘‘The li­brary is a fab­u­lous re­source for fam­i­lies and as chil­dren get older and mem­bers leave, our chal­lenge is con­stantly keep­ing the word out there to at­tract new mem­bers. We’re keen to se­cure its long term vi­a­bil­ity and net­work­ing has led to amaz­ing vol­un­teers and sup­port from Vin­cent Com­mu­nity Board; both mean­ing we have re­duced mem­ber­ship fees and can keep the doors open more.’’

Lana sums up vol­un­teer­ing nicely: ’’What you get out of vol­un­teer­ing may to­tally sur­prise you, and if you’re hes­i­tant about your abil­i­ties in any way, re­mem­ber there is a role for any type of help.’’

If you would like to join Lana, or are con­sid­er­ing what roles are out there for you, con­tact Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral.

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