I’ve been in the South Island town of Geraldine for the weekend (the last one of January). My brother and sister-on-law’s 60th wedding anniversay was the occasion. There was a large number of offspring around – immediate family and their immediate family. About 30 in all with every generation represented.
Interesting to note in our many conversations – some ardent debates and some flippant but funny commentary, some soulful and hearteflt reminiscence – how often volunteering was alluded to in some shape or form.
Jenny is a gallery director. She mentioned hosts, a well-trained team who are all volunteers. A great niece is a probation worker; community activity involvement through volunteering can change lives, give people something to live for, a fresh start.
Another young relative is keen to get into the world of fashion. One of her cousins suggested volunteering.’You get skills, you get know-how, you get to know people.’
My sister-in-law’s sister is a nun now living in Blenheim. One expects volunteering to be a major part of a nun’s life but a specific project for which Elizabeth had put up her hand caught my imagination. She, with three colleagues, took a group of 84 – 93 year olds, who were relatively fit but who had never had the pleasure of international travel,on a global ‘pilgrimage.’ They visited Ireland, France, Rome and a number of other countries. A testing but rewarding and certainly inforgettable volunteering journey from all sides of the coin.
Another niece is married to Alan. His Books in Homes Charitable Trust has involved valued hours of volunteering time. They travelled from their abode in France both for the celebratory anniversary party and also for further work with Books in Homes. Recently the number of books that has gone into low socio economic homes has reached FIVE MILLION. Sports’ coaches, a school board of trustees’ representative, a project involving teenage mentoring, someone’s father who works at a St Vincent de Paul shop…the community spectrum covered in the course of a weekend!
From my side, always veering towards the ‘missionary’ when it comes to Volunteer Wellington, I talked about skills development and the 52 ethnicities who came our way last year, seeking voluntary roles. It’s good to go away and hear the talk. And do some ourselves.