Volunteering IS meaningful #NVW2017


Happy National Volunteer week!  ‘Live, laugh, share – volunteer’ is the theme this year, which helps capture the heart-felt appreciation we feel when people come together to build stronger, more vibrant communities through volunteer service.

I love this wee blurb from the SEEK website:  According to research, volunteering can quite literally make you live longer, help you create social bonds, boost your empathy/ life satisfaction, combat depression and increase your confidence, to name just a few.  

This is reinforced by a great quote my friend wrote on FB yesterday:  “Volunteering is making me feel more alive and more authentic than ever”.

Yes, I will keep harping on about it.  Volunteering is meaningful on so many levels.

Let me share with you some of my formal volunteering experiences from years gone by.  I have also engaged in many informal experiences, but due to space and time (and not wanting to bore you) I have not included them.


In my late teens and early twenties, I attended regular events in the Waitakere ranges where I helped with tree planting, weeding tasks, potting plants, and general garden maintenance.  Through my old workplace I also got to plant trees over on Motuihe Island.

WHAT I LOVED:  Oodles and oodles of fresh air.  Ability to use my hands – a great way to destress.  Yes, the work was tiring at times but it was awesome to see the tangible results of our work.  A clean green NZ is utterly inspiring.


When I was considering a career change, I volunteered as a counsellor at Lifeline to see whether it was a path I was passionate about.  It turned out it was!  It helped shape my pathway to come as a career practitioner.

WHAT I LOVED:  The training was amazing.  Reflective, challenging and very supportive. It was also a privilege to support people going through tough times.  I also made a life-long best friend too!  (she was a fellow volunteer).


I was an active committee member for the Auckland branch and National Executive for the Career Development Association of NZ.  I was involved in developing the social media channels for CDANZ and also shared ideas for events and PD.

WHAT I LOVED:  Being able to work with a talented and well-informed group of people!  I was able to contribute to high level planning and decision-making and was valued for my expertise.


For a short while I volunteered as an attendant at Pah Homestead (Wallace Arts Trust).  I helped visitors with queries and also did regular checks of the art works.

WHAT I LOVED:  Learning about art.  It was a total feast for the senses and it really made me appreciate the craftmanship involved.


I formally mentored a fantastic student going through the First Foundation programme.  This involved regular catch-ups with the student to discuss career plans, goals and interests.

WHAT I LOVED:  Watching an individual grow.  It was an honour to share meaningful conversations with the student, helping him to reflect on the things that were important to him.  I learnt lots about communication and empathy through the process too!


Over the duration of a year, I ran a wellbeing project called “The Upbeat Collective”, hosting and running different activations and events including; handing out food at an ANZAC Day parade, organising a community guest speaker event, fundraising for the Cancer Society… etc.

WHAT I LOVED:  Developing cool ideas to engage people into giving back to others.  I met some incredible people through the journey who continue to inspire me today.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Pepe says:

    Absolutely love this piece re: volunteering! Thanks Andrew for this great read:)


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