Giving volunteering a go matters
Christine volunteers with Youthline
I came to NZ from the Philippines, 5 years ago, and noticed how different things were, particularly culturally. I started at Ponsonby Intermediate school, in the middle of Term 3, and knew no one, so it was a difficult time for me. But there were organisations that helped me settle in, to integrate into NZ life, and I wanted to give back to the community in some way.
I began to look at websites online 2 years ago for Volunteers and saw a Youth advisory advert (with Youthline) which I applied for.
I was interested in the issues that Youthline addresses and supports such as Mental Health,
cultural issues, racism and poverty.
There are presently a group of about 5/6 of us who meet with a Youthline facilitator. We meet fortnightly on a Tuesday evening from 5.30-7pm and cultivate ideas that may help youth in the community.
Last month, myself and another member of the group met with Peeni Henare, MP, Minister for Youth (as part of a government-led Health & Wellbeing Survey) and discussed issues that affect Youth, how important it is to learn about different cultures and for my generation to embrace who they are.
In May we are organising a Clothing Swap as part of Youth Awareness week. It represents our encouragement of recycling and issues of sustainability. This will be advertised though posters in Libraries, schools and social media. (Youthline uses social media such as Facebook and Instagram).
Fundraising activities have been at Christmas in the Park and Ponsonby market and I have also joined Youthline’s Good2Great programme for young people.
We are needing more people as the groups numbers have declined – particularly as people become involved in other activities or go overseas. It only takes 4 hours month which isn’t much time to give, but you need to be committed and passionate about it.
Volunteering with Youthline has been an opportunity to meet and make new friends. I feel a stronger bond with the community and it can open new doors. I would say give volunteering a go, even if it doesn’t suit you, giving it a go matters. It’s important to have dedication, perseverance and you do need to be committed. Not everything is for you but you will be compensated for your hard work.