Gaining life skills through volunteering
This is Aira Li's volunteering journey. Aira is a Yr 13 student at Takapuna Grammar. They presented their story at the 2022 LoVE Awards where Volunteering Auckland launched Rangatahi Te Mahi Tūao - a support guide for community groups engaging youth as volunteers.
Aira Li's Story
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here today.
My name is Aira Lonna talk about my volunteering journey and the obstacles I faced throughout the experience.
I started volunteering since primary school where I helped with tree planting and also using my break time to help in the library which I continued for 8 years through to intermediate, in which I started attending St John where I had the chance to volunteer for more things. Events such as the St John annual fundraising to cadets, competitions where I volunteered to be a patient, and a judge.
From tree planting to volunteering community events to being able to volunteer in events such as Santa Parade which I had the honour to be part of last Sunday in the City Centre.
Throughout my volunteering journey I joined two more youth group as a youth leader - Raise Up and Shore Junction youth engagement groups.
For those who don’t know, what Raise Up is. Raise Up is a non-profit organization where youth age 13 to 18 years old creates events for other youth. Some project that we did was the beach cleaning that happened at the start of the year in March where we helped clean up the Takapuna beach along with others people in the area who volunteered to join. This helped me realize that ...
... by having teamwork in the community and everyone getting involved makes a big difference like a domino in a long chain helping protect the community together.
On the other hand, Shore Junctionyouth engagement group is for young people age between 13 to 24 years old. It is also a youth related place this is similar to Raise Up where youth leaders create events for youth, to give youth the opportunities to try new things.
Being a cadet at St John youth may have been the best decision I could have made. This helped me to get started with volunteering. I feel as if it is aiding me more than I could ever have imagined.
Now I have become a youth leader for St John where I volunteer to pass on my knowledge to younger cadets. I used my knowledge that I learned in St John to teach First aid in my school as well as in my community.
So why did I get involved with volunteering? By being a cadet myself in the past years and a member Student Volunteer Army which enables me to volunteer at any opportunities possible.
It made me realize that volunteering can help me meet many wonderful people and make many new friends. I feel a great sense of joy and pride by helping the community not only this but it also helped me build personal skills that benefits me in different areas along with my confidence and leadership skills. Volunteering at K-festival where I volunteer at a Korean food stall helped with my communication skills.
This year I had the privilege to be able to volunteer as netball coach for one of the primary schools in my community. By coaching year 6s on netball techniques and helping them with their netball journey. As they didnt have an experienced coach before, amazed me to see how a small act can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Giving 2 hours a week to help young girls who need it the most is nothing but worthwhile. It taught me the importance of gratitude. I started appreciating all the things I have in life.
At the beginning of 2022 I joined Student Volunteer Army where I got further opportunities to volunteer in many different area like the Santa Parade I mentioned before as well as volunteering as a Ushers for the amazing ****Whale Rider show that happened in mid- October and many more. I got the privilege to get a Top volunteer award 2022. Right now, I am aiming to get the gold 500 hours volunteer award.
I believe these youth-based groups like St John youth, Raise Up and Shore Junction youth engagement group helps and encourages young people aged 14 to 18 years old to get involved in volunteering as they are able to meet new people around the same age as them and have fun.
I am excited to continue my volunteering journey in my next chapter, no matter where I end up next year.
Thank You for Listening!