Stop me…before I volunteer again!
31 March 2017
Do you ever feel like you couldn’t possibly give another piece of yourself or your time? You are not alone. In 2015, Volunteering Australia listed that the most common reasons for not volunteering were: Did not have time - 67% Unable to make long term commitment - 62% Preferred to give money instead of time - 52%
As parents we find ourselves pulled in many directions: giving our time to our jobs, our families and our communities. Perhaps you are coaching your kids’ sports team, running Sabbath School and church programs, or mowing your neighbours’ lawn. Some days just managing to sit down with the family for a meal together can make you feel like parent-of-the-year!
So why do we volunteer? Why should we keep on doing it? Here are some of the personal benefits listed by Volunteering Australia: Volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer. Just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in happiness and mood. A strong correlation exists between the wellbeing, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally kind, and compassionate in their charitable helping activities. Sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health. (More information and sources can be found on their website www.volunteeringarustralia.org )
If you’re still not convinced by the benefits of improved sleep and increased wellbeing, Dr Lisel O’Dwyer, from the University of Adelaide, estimated the dollar value of the contributions made by volunteers to be worth 25.4 billion to the Australian economy each year. (Can we put that on our resume?)
We have found one of the benefits of volunteering at Avondale School has been the opportunity to connect with others. For example, when you are a reading parent in an infant classroom, you not only connect with your child, but you also get to know their teacher, your child’s friends, their parents, and sometimes even their grandparents. Many of us have experienced lasting friendships and connections made in that precious learning environment. The same thing happens when you help out on a school excursion, at a sports day, sew costumes for the school concert, tell a story at chapel, or help with a Parents and Friends barbecue. This volunteering provides an opportunity to engage and connect with other parents and friends who are also supporting and enriching the education of their children. Having read the previous three reasons for people not volunteering above, it might surprise you to learn that the fourth most common reason people give for not volunteering is this: “No one asked.” Seriously, “No one asked”!
That is, until now … drum roll please ... consider this your invitation. If you are looking to connect, improve your sense of wellbeing and happiness, we invite you to volunteer. Maybe it will be in your family or non-school community, but just know, Avondale School P&F welcomes you! Keep an eye out for our upcoming events in the School Newsletter and on the School Facebook page. Spending a little time volunteering with Avondale School Parents and Friends may be your best-spent hour yet!
Nadine Dunne, Karen Toepfer & Georgina O’Reilly