Volunteer, Golden Key, WSU.
- Bachelor of Arts
How did you get involved in volunteering?
The first time I volunteered, it was because I wanted to find a meaningful and productive way to spend my free time – because I had way too much of that on my hands. I helped out the Student Union with little things like barbecues and driving students from campus to town during O-Week, and then it progressed into chairing a club and also running esports tournaments voluntarily on the weekends. Basically, I took what I could get to start and used the momentum from that to find bigger and more impactful things to do; every little thing counts!
Tell us about a volunteering highlight!
I volunteered with Golden Key to run Access 2 Employment workshops up in Mangere. I helped out at the Mangere Town Library with practice scenarios and general discussions with the community who were looking to get into the workforce, whether it was for the first time or after a bit of a break. It was amazing to hear these people's stories and understand their future goals, and I really felt a genuine connection to the people and their wants and needs. The coolest thing ever was going back after a few sessions and hearing that some of the people we helped had actually found jobs, and knowing we did really made a difference in these people's lives. Just spending that little amount of time and being there for these people helped them accomplish some of their dreams. It makes me smile just thinking about it.
What do you love about volunteering?
Knowing I'm doing something that is actually bringing a benefit to society. Even from the little things like student union barbecues, where you hand over a sausage and bread like a thousand times, the smiles and the thanks that you get from people show that you're doing something that has actually changed how somebody else would go about their day in a positive way.
What tips do you have for anyone getting started with volunteering?
I think the main thing would be just to put your hand up and take on something that you're keen to do. It doesn't matter how big of a part you play in the grand scheme of things; as long as you get out there and do it, your time is worth the effort. There are always little opportunities to volunteer, and if you can't find any, you could even make your own!
Has volunteering helped you get a paid position?
The skills and experiences I gained from volunteering has helped me get jobs. The involvement I have had within the University sphere, for example, had helped me find several jobs, from tutoring papers to mentoring Māori students, to student administration. At the end of my university degree, I had a CV full of experience that helped me find my current job at the Bank of New Zealand. Your CV gets pretty huge when you volunteer and you make a lot of good connections!
What skills have you gained from volunteering?
Too many! But seriously, there have been a lot. Be it planning skills like time management and allocating resources, dealing with different types of people and understanding their cultures, leading a team and meeting your team's needs, or just building up my confidence. Volunteering has taken me all sorts of different places and that's why I did it and do it so much.