Upwards of 40 000 volunteer seekers have gone through Volunteer Wellington’s recruitment and referral services during the past 20 years. Community organisation members now number more than 400 from throughout the Wellington region. Says member services manager, Julie Thomson:
‘This source of new volunteers has had a huge impact on the sector since 1992. As our services increase and grow so does the community’s resilience.’
Volunteer Wellington will celebrate our 20th birthday at our forthcoming 2012 annual general meeting – and party – being held at Te Wharewaka on Wellington’s waterfront, on Monday 23 July. Among guest speakers will be the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Jo Goodhew, and Wellington City Councillor, Stephanie Cook.
A performance from Wesley Community Action’s Laulotaha educational programme will combine the skill of a group of enthusiastic musicians with a demonstration of Volunteer Wellington’s successful ‘finding’ of volunteers for a member organisation. The initiator of Laulotaha, Valeti Finau, was looking for people with a ‘passion for challenge and innovation in education.’
Almost 40 ‘passionate and committed’ mentors have come her way during the past year to mentor and coach several groups of Tongan school students, ‘mainly professionals and third year university students, the volunteer mentors come for a look on the first night – and then they’re hooked,’ said Valeti. Tongan hospitality, the family atmosphere of the education evenings, and the fact that there are visible results all mean that volunteers stay the distance.
‘We are very happy to bring the students who have gained, to this birthday celebration, to give our performance in return.’
Another highlight of the evening will be the launch of a publication called The second decade of Volunteer Wellington 2002-2012, a compilation of stories which trace the organisation’s progress of the past 10 years. A quote from Tim Barnett’s Epilogue at the book’s conclusion says it all:
‘So how has Volunteer Wellington become such a healthy survivor? I always think the simplest ideas work best, and the core function of a volunteer center is simplicity itself – put volunteers in touch with genuine opportunities, and vice versa. So it is with a joyous heart that I raise my glass to the first 20 and the next 20 years of Volunteer Wellington. Kia kaha.’