Eighty-four Willis Street, where the Wellington office of Volunteer Wellington is located, is the site of Community House. Once the building of the Evening Post, now a nondescript building along a back alley with no particular historical or cultural heritage value to the passer-by. But it is through this office that hundreds of new volunteer seekers came in to register with Volunteer Wellington.
There are so many choices that we make in our lives, such as where to live and with whom, how to spend our spare time, what to do with our time. This list could go on and on. But what is the reason that so many people choose to dedicate their time to volunteer work? Searching for an answer to this question, I visited the Volunteer Wellington office around 6 pm after work.
Before I got there, I was concerned that they may have all finished for the day and gone home. When I arrived, however, I saw a small group of people still hard at work; and after talking to them I found an answer to my question.
Two and a half years ago, Amy Davis decided to take a voluntary role at Volunteer Wellington to gain some work experience before she began looking for a job after her graduation. “Lots of graduates are looking for a job. I didn’t know where I was going to be. I think volunteering can give me some experience and make my CV look better.”
A few days after applying, Amy began her part-time volunteer position as an office administrator at Volunteer Wellington in-between her full-time studies at Victoria University.
Sitting at the front desk every Wednesday afternoon answering phone calls, meeting visitors and job applicants and arranging interview schedules, Amy really enjoyed being busy. But the greatest joy she discovered was to meet so many different people from different backgrounds – just by sitting in the same seat.
“I meet people and make friends here. Locals, migrants and refugees, they are all motivated to obtain local community involvement to gain experience, I am impressed by the number of people who come in”.
Thanks to her volunteering experience, Amy successfully landed a full-time job after her graduation. Instead of terminating her volunteer work, Amy still goes in to volunteer every Wednesday evening at the office. She feels so proud of being a member of this big family of volunteers, her life has been charged by friendship and inspiration outside of her work.
“I jump out of my work bubble to soak in this different atmosphere. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV or being bored with little or nothing to do, I am able to meet new people and have exciting experiences. I feel quite special every time I say to my colleagues that I am going volunteering after work.” Amy dedicates her time to this role for a change in her daily routine and a sense of contribution.
Part 2 in this series to follow next week.
By Ann Liu
(Ann is a journalist from China, married to a Wellingtonian and enjoying carrying out volunteer writing assignments with Volunteer Wellington.)