Volunteering Isn’t Just About Helping, it’s Community Building

By: Laura Bennett

At face value, volunteering is simply a generous offer of your time and skills to an organisation or cause you care about. In reality though, it goes far beyond that, having a profound affect on our cultural identity.

Speaking in an interview, CEO of Volunteering Australia Mark Pearce said, “over the past year we’ve seen a number of things that have required community to come together, for volunteers to be engaged within the communities in which they live, and to help out”.

From the recent floods along Australia’s east coast, to the 2020 bushfires and our health care system’s response to the pandemic, volunteers have been vital.

From the recent floods along Australia’s east coast, to the 2020 bushfires and our health care system’s response to the pandemic, volunteers have been vital.

“While we know that volunteer are everywhere all the time, volunteers are really critical to emergency response, and recovery,” Mark said.

“Over the course of 2020 and 2021 there are about 230,000 volunteers in government emergency services organisations, and an additional 200,000 were involved with over 1000 [external] emergency services organisations.”

The assistance of volunteers has been invaluable to those who seen them clear flood damaged property, or helped them find interim accommodation when needed, but beyond that practical assistance, our choice to volunteer also shows our value for community.

“Volunteering is a profound aspirational statement about the communities in which we live, and how we want them to be,” Mark said.

When you’re trying to decide where to offer your time or skills, “ask yourself, ‘What are the things that I’m passionate about? How do I think I can make a difference to someone’s life or to the betterment of the community?’,” he said.

“Things like healthcare and aged care are desperately in need of volunteers at this point, but equally, so are sporting clubs.

“Volunteering is about a profound connection with community, and it’s the things which you’re passionate about which will be the most enjoyable for you, and the most beneficial for [them].”

Find out more about volunteering via Volunteering Australia. .

Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

About the Author: Laura is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.

Feature image: Supplied.

Show Suggestion: Check out the incredible story of chaplaincy organisation Red Frogs in The Journey: 20 years of Red Frogs
Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network, founded in 1997 recruits around 1500 volunteers annually each year. These volunteers are the heartbeat of the Red Frogs network which serves in 17 Schoolies locations Australia wide with over 70,000 School leavers attending. Armed with over 10 tonne of Allen’s Frogs Alive red Frogs lollies, Red Frogs volunteers assist school-leavers by walking them home, cooking pancakes, cleaning their rooms, handing out Allen’s Red Frogs, and – most importantly – offering emotional support through what can often be a challenging week. Red Frogs also operates in 26 major Universities and over 140 Residential Colleges across Australia serving over 120,000 students. Now, Red Frog has gone global serving in South Africa, New Zealand, UK, Poland and Canada. In 20 years, a simple idea of grabbing a bag of lollies has come a long way. This is the Red Frogs Journey.
Watch The Journey: 20 Years of Red Frogs now. Click here.