I’d like to thank everyone who attended the National Volunteer Week morning tea in June. It was lovely to see so many laughing, smiling faces connecting up over a cuppa and a biscuit. It brought to mind the power of good old fashioned kiwi comfort food and the power of connection – people from all over the place meeting up with people from all over the place!
It was with considerable pride that I noticed a number of people affiliated with the Supported Volunteering Programme who were obviously attending as representatives of the organisations for whom they volunteer. I was aware of what a wonderful thing it must be to be able to blend in as one of the crowd with no sign or label declaring your personal state of wellbeing. (Thank goodness for that! Imagine if we were all branded in some public way for one aspect of ourselves. My own sign would frequently read – warning – not a morning person!)
Watching everyone milling about I was mindful of the invisible nature of Supported Volunteering. Supported Volunteering clients are actively encouraged to be themselves, to think about what they want and don’t want and not focus on who they are or have been within the health system. This anonymity allows a person to grow and blossom into the full and complete person they really are. If I ever needed evidence that this is so I saw it at the National Volunteer Week morning tea. “Clients” known and appreciated for their own sake and the wonderful work they do stood among their peers and colleagues, their connection to the health system unknown and unimportant as we, in our own small way joined together to celebrate the value of all volunteers in our community.
Noho ora mai rā.
(Supported Volunteering Coordinator)