Last week was National Volunteer Week 2017, so it’s a great time to acknowledge the amazing contribution that volunteers make to our communities.

The theme this year is “Live, laugh, share – volunteer” or “Kia ringa hora: Me Mahi tūao”, which really captures the fact that volunteering isn’t only great for our communities, but actually benefits those of us who choose to volunteer.

Volunteering feels great and is good for your mental and physical health. As a former business owner who has employed many staff, I can also tell you that volunteer experience stands out on your CV, and can really enhance your job prospects.

But I think if you asked our wonderful volunteers, they’d tell you all of these positive benefits are just a by-product. The real reason they volunteer is their desire to do something good for their community.

There are many volunteering opportunities available right here in the Port Hills. We have organisations like 0800 HUNGRY that rely on volunteers to deliver food to those who need it,  Hohepa Home where volunteers can help make life better for people living with an intellectual disability, and many other charitable organisations who rely on volunteers for their important work.

Right now there are also lots of opportunities for volunteers to assist with the re-planting work that is happening as the Port Hills recover from the fires.

Given it is election year, I also want to acknowledge the hundreds of volunteers who will be hitting the streets to support election candidates right across the political spectrum. Election campaign volunteers sometimes get a hard time, but no matter which party they support these are a dedicated group of people who are giving up their time to support the values and policies they believe in.

If you are currently a volunteer – kia kaha. Thank you for everything you do on behalf of our community. If not, perhaps it’s time to think about whether you can spare some time to help your community, and how your skills would best be used. 

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