For many volunteering is a rewarding experience that helps bring purpose, joy and connection into their lives. But others just don’t seem to get it. Most people who volunteer do so because they want to help others in the community and because they get a great deal of personal satisfaction from the act of volunteering. However according to statistics in 2010 only 36.2% of people over 18 volunteered.

I personally struggle with that percentage, I would challenge that 100% of the population has benefited from the volunteering efforts of the 36.2%. In many suburbs and towns each time a child walks to and from school, a volunteer will ensure that child crosses those busy streets safely. Volunteers man some of the most important phones in the country such as Life Line. Next time you visit a police station as a victim of crime there is every chance that it is a volunteer who is supporting you and advocating on your behalf. Volunteers work in every area of our culture.

So I would love to take a moment to share the experience of volunteering. Here at i60 we have been running a Food Relief Program called Friend In Need for the past 7 years, week in, week out. This has always been run by volunteers. To deliver this program once a week takes around 15 volunteer hours each week (and we are about to expand to two new locations). When I am talking to these volunteers what they consistently tell me is that they love meeting people, they love feeling that they are making a tangible difference as they hand out food hampers, they enjoy seeing people recover from the loss in their lives and get to a point where they no longer need our service. Still others have said to me “Carolyn I volunteer to such and such because when I was in need they helped me out”.  Some say “If I don’t do it, who will?”

You know a Canadian study asked the question Why don’t you volunteer?  And a staggering 45% said because no-one asked.

So here’s little ole me saying ‘Please, Please Volunteer somewhere, anywhere, your community NEEDS you.”

If you are stuck for ideas you can call us or visit Volunteering Australia’s website, just pick up the phone and find out why volunteering not only benefits your community but benefits you.

– Carolyn Edwards