Now that my Māori class has finished, I’ve found myself with more time on my hands. This combined with a feeling I’ve had for a while now of wanting to do something fulfilling is what led me to think of using my time to volunteer. If you can do something to help someone else and at the same time feel good yourself then the way I see it, it can only be a win-win situation.
I remember when I was on an exchange in Belgium and as part of the requirements of the programme we had to do a week of volunteer work. A friend and I were placed together in a soup kitchen or resto du coeur (restaurant of the heart) as they’re called in French. I remember that being the best week of my whole year in Belgium. We were just peeling potatoes and making soups, serving and cleaning up, but to know that we were making a difference in someone’s life, helping someone who really needed it, that was the best feeling in the world. It also showed us how lucky we were and the knife’s edge we walk on in life. There were people in there just like us – families with children or people who had once held jobs and had homes but had experienced misfortune and now needed a helping hand to get back on their feet. There was also a soup fight one day and a man who told my friend, “j’aime pas ton nez” (I don’t like your nose) – the place definitely had its characters and there was never a dull moment.
Volunteering can be anything from dog-walking to being a friend to an elderly person who perhaps doesn’t have any family and just having someone to talk to would brighten their day. It’s also a good way to try new things you’ve always thought you might like and to get out and meet new like-minded people. You can find volunteer roles in the Wellington area on http://volunteerwellington.nz/jobs/jobfr.html and don’t forget, you can also earn points from approved volunteer activities towards the Victoria Plus Award or Certificate which look great on your CV. Employers these days often aren’t only looking for paid work experience, volunteering is highly regarded too and is often what can differentiate you from other candidates when applying for jobs. You can find out more about the Vic Plus Programme here http://www.victoria.ac.nz/students/get-involved/vic-plus