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Volunteering Against the Stats

Volunteering Against the Stats

By Kristina Koveshnikova – AUT University Journalism Student

The Regional Manager of Volunteering Auckland, Cheryll Martin, says volunteering has always been dominated by women.

“We always had more women than men.”

Ms Martin, who has been in the industry for 13 years, says 90% of those who volunteer are migrants, most of whom are Chinese and thus, unfortunately almost half of those who enquire are not ready to start volunteering immediately.

“Their English might not be good enough or they need more training.”

Every second person who volunteers is a student and a third of all registered volunteer workers are between 20-29 years old, says Ms Martin.

But John Pratt, a Kiwi who started volunteering in his mid-forties, goes against all these statistics.

Mr Pratt, now 47, never volunteered when he was at university.

“I only started volunteering about 15 months ago.”

Mr Pratt, who spends 70 and 75 hours per week, working as a general manager of two larger corporate organisations, says he always finds the time for to help those in need.

“Volunteering is about investing your life in helping people you often don’t even know. It’s a powerful thing.”

Mr. Pratt is helping the St Heliers Presbyterian Church and Community Centre mostly with the technical side.

“I am looking after their web site and doing video-filming for the Church and Community Centre.”

Mr Pratt considers himself to be a volunteer “on-the-call”.

“They call me up and ask me to help out with all sorts of projects.”

Mr Pratt is aiming at investing every spare minute he has, even on the weekends, in volunteering.

“You can sit around and do nothing, or make a difference in somebody’s life.”

And he is not planning to slow down any time soon.

“I am planning to keep going for as long as I can.”

Ms Martin says corporate and group volunteering is a “growing phenomenon” so there seems to be a possibility for more people like Mr Pratt to join the unpaid sector.

“Last year we had around 400 people volunteering from the corporate sector, this year, in the first quarter, we already have 200 people registered.”

For more information go to www.VolunteerNow.org.nz or call o8oo VOLCNTR (o8oo 865 268).

ends

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