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National Volunteer Week 8-14 May – ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’

12 May 2017


Retirees, students, professionals, everyday mums and dads – Maroondah volunteers come from all walks of life, yet they share a common goal – to make a difference to the lives of others.

Maroondah has over 400 community members who volunteer with Council and there are many more in the community who contribute to the programs, activities, services and events that take place across the municipality.

Whether it’s delivering a hot meal through Meals on Wheels, getting people out socially who might otherwise be feeling isolated, or helping care for the city’s parks and reserves, Maroondah volunteers are many and varied.

National Volunteer Week (8-14 May) provides an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all those who generously give their time for no other reward than to feel good about doing something for someone else.

Meet our ‘unsung heroes’

Maroondah resident Aaron Wilson is one of our community’s unsung heroes.

As a volunteer with Maroondah Community Assist, which provides emergency relief for people in financial crisis, he lends his support wherever it is needed – from helping with food vouchers, to referring people experiencing hardship to the right place.

Other times he’s a volunteer assisted community driver with Eastern Volunteers, transporting senior residents to their weekly Council-run hydrotherapy classes at Aquanation in Ringwood.

For him, it’s more than simply ferrying residents to and from their classes. It’s about being that “friendly face” greeting them in the morning, catching up for a tea and chat at the end of a class and getting residents back home safely.

Despite suffering from Thomsen Disease, a condition causing muscle stiffness which has rendered him unable to work a regular 9-5 desk job, Mr Wilson instead chooses to only see the positives.

“Because I can’t sit for long periods of time, this (volunteering) allows me to do things at my own pace. I find it rewarding helping people,” Mr Wilson said.

“Life is for living, so you’ve just got to get out there and do as much as you can.”

For Athene Dwyer, of Ringwood, trading in her white lab coat as a paid chemical analyst for a one-day-a-week volunteering role with Council’s Human Resources department has been nothing short of a “refreshing” change.

While worlds away from laboratory work, she’s enjoying the various administrative duties that come with working in HR and is even helping to develop an e-Learning induction program for other volunteers.

“While I’ve got the time, I want to be doing something for the community and it’s also an opportunity for me to learn other skills,” said Ms Dwyer, who was looking to do “something less physically demanding” and “healthier”.

Growing up with parents who volunteered taught her early on the importance of helping your fellow-human being.

“The people attracted to volunteering are also wonderful; it really puts your faith back in humanity,” she said.

Aaron and Athene make up the more than six million Australian volunteers who give happiness to others each year. And research shows that volunteers are happier as a result, with this year’s National Volunteer Week theme being ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Tony Dib said volunteers enabled the Council and community to deliver key services throughout Maroondah, and in doing so, contribute to the city’s positive way of life.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community. Without their dedication and compassion, so many of the services and programs that are available in our community would struggle to operate as they do – things like our emergency services, family support services, wildlife care and sporting clubs,” Cr Dib said.

“On behalf of Council and the community, I would like to say a big thank you to all our dedicated volunteers, we truly are indebted to you for enriching our quality of life.”

How you can become a volunteer

Maroondah City Council provides volunteering opportunities across all service areas, from Meals on Wheels and planned activity groups, to social support and youth services, just to name a few.

And it doesn’t matter if you can only spare a few hours a month, or if you are able to volunteer each week, all offers of assistance are greatly welcome.

If you’re looking to become involved as a volunteer but are not sure how to go about it, call us on 1300 88 22 33. To find out more visit our website.

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