We celebrated the collective effort of Jesuit Social Services volunteers with an afternoon tea on Wednesday 10 May in Richmond. The event was one of thousands held across Australia during National Volunteer Week (8-14 May 2017) to say thank you to volunteers.
During 2015-16, more than 220 volunteers gave a combined estimated 16,757 hours of time and commitment in support of more than 25 Jesuit Social Services programs. For the volunteers who joined our thank you afternoon tea, the rewards for volunteering are as diverse as the programs to which they donate their time and effort.
Reflecting on what impact volunteering has had on them, our volunteers described their experience as having made their lives richer. Some have developed new friendships and “unimaginable connections” with participants accessing our services. All agreed that volunteering is a humbling experience – that no matter what you give, you always get much more back.
For others still, volunteering has helped broaden their work experience and professional networks. Two of our newest volunteers, Taylah and Kirti, are giving their time to the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum’s (CAPSA) upcoming National Week of Prayer and Action.
Kirti is engaging schools to participate in the event, which encourages students to stand in solidarity with refugees and people seeking asylum. Newly-arrived to Australia from India, Kirti says volunteering is helping her plan for her future.
Taylah, a journalism student at RMIT University, is helping CAPSA pitch schools’ actions to local media. She says volunteering with CAPSA is rewarding, and also matches her career goal of providing a platform for voices to be heard.
“This opportunity fits with what I want to do.”
Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards commended volunteers for the bridges they build within their local communities.
“Volunteers extend our web of support and connection. They stretch belonging and stretch connections. They’re not just helping us, but reshaping society.”
If you’re passionate about building a just society, visit our Volunteer page to find out how you can apply your skills and experience as a Jesuit Social Services volunteer.