Their simple acts of kindness and the volunteering of their time made a great difference in my life that I will never forget. That's where my desire to volunteer and to be part of ‘giving back to the community’ comes from.
At the beginning, I knew that I didn’t have a lot to offer – I didn’t have many skills to help others. But never let that be a barrier as every kind deed counts. Even holding a door open for a stranger, something so simple, can make an impact on someone's life.
By understanding my limits, I chose to start with something small and easy. The first volunteering job I did was to help with my school's fundraising sausage sizzles. I’m not good at cooking so I helped to collect the money. I then joined the school's international student buddy programme to help those international student who’d just arrived. From there, I’ve continued on the volunteering path and am still doing it today.
Through volunteering you can challenge yourself to achieve personal goals, practice using your skills and discover hidden talents.
It's true that the more time you donate the more benefits you'll experience. Volunteering can offer an opportunity for you to try something new and gain experience in a different field, while also giving back to the community and feeling good.
With 14 years of volunteering, I have moved from being a cashier at the sausage sizzles to becoming a board member of a nationwide non-for-profit organisation. I’ve moved from being a student buddy to being a business mentor of Business Mentor New Zealand and a student mentor for Victoria University of Wellington. I’ve moved from helping to raise a few hundred dollars to million dollar fundraising campaigns. And to cap it all off I’ve also moved from being a newly arrived international student to being a true New Zealander who’s successfully settled in this beautiful land.
Volunteering can be enjoyable and rewarding, not to mention the exposure to other cultures and ethnic diversity.
I believe one of the best parts about giving to others is that it motivates them to give as well. Volunteering can go a lot further than most people realise. The efforts that can be made are endless. Volunteering makes you a great person and New Zealand GREAT!
Before I finish, I would like to share one last thing with you about what I have learned from volunteering. A lot of people once told me that what I want to do is impossible or that I should wait for the right opportunity before doing it. But everything is possible. All you’ve got to do is start somewhere – it will become possible as soon as you start doing it. If you are willing to do a little bit more, if you are willing to stay up just a little bit longer, sacrifice just a little bit more of your time, believe in yourself to question the impossible. Trust me everything will become possible when you start doing it.
Ngā mih, hei konā mai