Vol­un­teer­ing gets a boost

The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS - RICHARD MAYS

Vol­un­teers are like gum­boots - with­out ‘em, ‘where would we be?’. And more are needed to fill nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity-based roles, es­pe­cially dur­ing the busy lead-up to Christ­mas.

Dare To Vol­un­teer was a pre-Christ­mas in­cen­tive by Palmer­ston North’s Vol­un­teer Re­source Cen­tre to en­cour­age more peo­ple to en­joy vol­un­teer­ing.

Re­source Cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor Norelle Ward said the pro­mo­tion was a way of open­ing up per­cep­tions about vol­un­teer­ing.

‘‘You don’t have to turn up reg­u­larly ev­ery Mon­day af­ter­noon for the next 20 years. You can con­trib­ute on an ad hoc or on a project ba­sis.’’

Walk­ing the neigh­bour’s dog, weed­ing some­one’s gar­den, sort­ing through do­nated goods, read­ing to some­one, driv­ing pa­tients to treat­ments or teach­ing former refugees English were among ways peo­ple could con­trib­ute.

Vol­un­teer­ing was not con­fined to grass­roots ac­tiv­i­ties either. Or­gan­i­sa­tions were al­ways look­ing for ex­per­tise at board and gov­er­nance level.

‘‘If there is no one sit­ting on those boards, lots of groups wouldn’t be able to ex­ist,’’ Ward said.

Bay­leys’ Latham Lock­wood, a mem­ber of the Ro­tary Club of Palmer­ston North, reg­is­tered with the Vol­un­teer Cen­tre two years ago and is now a mem­ber of Par­ent­line Man­watu¯’s gov­er­nance body.

‘‘Mak­ing other peo­ple’s lives bet­ter makes your own life bet­ter. Cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for oth­ers is a good way to give back,’’ Lock­wood said.

Shar­ing his lead­er­ship, strate­gic plan­ning, over­sight and gov­er­nance nous not only helped oth­ers grow, it gave Lock­wood op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­tend him­self.

‘‘You don’t know what you bring to an or­gan­i­sa­tion, so it is worth giv­ing it a shot. It’s mostly be­hind the scenes work, but there is sat­is­fac­tion in bring­ing new per­spec­tives to a group, and see­ing things hap­pen,’’ Lock­wood said.

All that was re­quired to en­ter Dare To Vol­un­teer draw was to un­der­take an hour of ac­tiv­ity be­tween now and In­ter­na­tional Vol­un­teer Day, De­cem­ber 5, take a photo of your­self do­ing it, and post it and a brief de­scrip­tion to the Vol­un­teer Re­source Cen­tre Face­book page.

Prizes in­cluded a na­tive tree, a gift and lunch with mayor Grant Smith with de­tails avail­able at vr­c­manawatu.org.nz and 354 6027.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Leah Baken is a vol­un­teer at Just Zilch in Palmer­ston North.

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