Volunteers have shared many touching moments of volunteering in the lead up to Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu National Volunteer Week (20-26 June).
Volunteering New Zealand ran a campaign called Connect our Hearts in which volunteers were invited to share some special moments.
“Volunteers often tell us they receive as much aroha as they give. Our social media campaign has captured some of those times when our heartstrings are pulled and we know how much difference we’re making to someone else,” says Volunteering New Zealand Chief Executive, Michelle Kitney.
Here are some of the stories:
Civil Defence response: Dellwyn Moylan, Ashburton District Council Civil Defence. Dellwyn was a Civil Defence volunteer during the late-May flood-induced State of Emergency in Mid-Canterbury. Based at Hakatere Marae, her role included registering evacuees, offering immediate help with their needs, and assisting them to settle into their stay. "When suddenly you are stranded away from home, family and friends, or if you have to leave the safety and security of your home because the flood is approaching it can be the small things that change how you feel. When people get simple things like clothing, toiletries, a phone charger for them to contact people they love, their faces and spirits lit up.”
A cause close to your heart: Jim Vince, Heart Kids Canterbury. “I have been involved with Heart Kids Canterbury ever since our granddaughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition 17 years ago. My granddaughter’s condition is for life so that is my motivation, as long as I am able. The satisfaction of helping someone through this time is well worth the effort and time spent.”
Making friends and sharing interests: Lydia Bristow, IHC, Wellington. Lydia does buddy volunteering and hangs out with Gio every week, and involves her dog Mac. “I got into volunteering to improve someone else's life, but ended up improving my own life too. Gio’s friendship is so refreshing, I look forward to our chats and laughing with Gio. Gio has taught me to enjoy the simple things in life again; he has taught me that human connection is so important for everyone.”
Helping people in need: Oonagh Daly, Coastguard Canterbury. Oonagh loves being part of a round-the-clock rescue service, to help people when they really need it. “Boaties can have confidence that someone will always be ready to help when the call goes out. Coastguard is a great organisation that pushes us to be our best and helps us train and keep gaining more skills.”
Social interaction and working together: Christopher Wong, Coeliac New Zealand, Auckland. CNZ understands the importance of social connections. It fosters different social groups across the country which work together to foster a strong network between members. CNZ collaborates alongside organisations from different industries to provide the best experience and value for its’ members. “Volunteering is a rewarding two-way process. On one hand, it gives you a wonderful opportunity to serve a group of your choice and provides a sense of purpose. On the other hand, volunteering allows you to meet other like-minded people, grow your social circle and improve your interpersonal skills.”