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Volunteers Coalface

May 20 to 26 is National Volunteer Week and the theme for 2024 is ‘Something for Everyone’. No matter what your passion or your talent, there is a place for everyone in the world of volunteering.

This special week also highlights the important role of volunteers in our community and invites people not currently volunteering to give it a go.

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we recognise some inspiring volunteers who lend their time, skills, and their hearts to make a difference in their communities. We hope their stories inspire you to realise your own power to make a difference.

Jarrad Cliffe

For my volunteer work, I am currently the Officer Commanding at the 145 Army Cadet Unit Moranbah Community, a national youth development program. I am a volunteer at the State Emergency Service (SES), and I am a radio programmer at the local 4RFM Community Radio Station.

I got into volunteering because I want to give back to the community, and also expand my knowledge and skills in different areas for personal development.

I enjoy helping others, the friendships within the various volunteer roles, and giving back to the community.

People should volunteer because even though jobs, families and commitments get in the way, volunteering can always be flexible around everyone’s life commitments and many groups and organisations will fall without more volunteers.

Kim Sinclair

I have volunteered for various community organisations over the years depending on where we were living at the time. Recently I took up a voluntary role with the Queensland Resources Dust Disease Support Group. It is a charity that advocates for and supports dust disease victims and their families, helping to access vital initial testing and ongoing treatment for an incurable disease.

To be honest I can’t really remember exactly how I got into volunteering, but my Mum was always the first to put her hand up to help at many different community and school roles – aka meaning us kids were also signed up! So, I guess it kind of started there. “If we can then we shall”, and of course, the “many hands make light work” would always be said.

It’s very rewarding to work as part of a team to achieve a common goal or purpose, especially when the outcomes can affect real change or improvement for those that need it. It also doesn’t hurt that I love a yarn and enjoy meeting new people.

People should volunteer simply because it’s the right thing to do. If you can then you should. I have been very fortunate to have had support from different organisations in the past when I needed a hand up and I will never forget the compassion and care I received during some really tough times. Now it’s my turn to return the favour and I’m honoured to be a part of an amazing community of people affecting positive change in the lives of others.

Volunteers Coalface

Lynnie Busk

My volunteer work began around 1974/75 as a breastfeeding counsellor and educator for the Nursing Mother’s Association, now known as Breastfeeding Association Australia. Beyond personal counselling, I initiated the Moranbah branch to support all mothers. I’ve also volunteered as a Justice of the Peace and Commissioner for Declarations, offering my services in various professional and community settings.

I was inspired to volunteer after the birth of my first child, seeing a significant need for breastfeeding support in our young community. This led me to qualify as a counsellor. In the early 1980s, my husband and I were approached to become Justices of the Peace, which expanded my role in supporting the community through legal and administrative assistance.

The direct impact on individuals’ lives has been the most rewarding part of volunteering. Whether it’s helping a new mother find her confidence or assisting someone through my JP duties, the personal connections and gratitude I’ve received are incredibly fulfilling. Our creative fundraising projects like t-shirt sales have also been a joy, bringing both fun and funds to our causes.

Volunteering is immensely rewarding, providing a way to deeply engage with and contribute to your community. It offers a chance to meet new people, build networks, and genuinely impact lives. From creating lasting support networks to training new volunteers, the benefits to both the individual and community are profound. If you’re considering it, I encourage you to explore the opportunities available – you might find it as fulfilling as I have.

Volunteers Coalface

Katrin Bahn

I joined the Yeppoon Choral Society after I moved from Germany. The area was new to me and the members of YCS took me under their wing. In return I helped out wherever there was a hand needed, while singing with them at charity concerts and other events. When I later moved to Rockhampton, friends suggested joining the Central Queensland Multicultural Association. A couple of years ago after donating to RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue I received an email asking if I would like to STEP UP and become a volunteer. I didn’t think twice. I still volunteer for all three organisations, just recently started volunteering for Rocky Nats, and I will also be volunteering at this year’s Beef 2024.

My parents were volunteers and encouraged their children to do the same. My mother was involved with the German equivalent of the CWA. Today she still conducts a men’s choir in her spare time. My father was the volunteer fire brigade chairman for more than a decade, as was his father before him. When parents set an example, it is more likely that their children will follow in the same footsteps. With me that certainly was the case.

Volunteering is free from pressure, unlike a normal income earning job. The work is engaging, physical and very different from my daily job behind a computer screen. I feel a sense of belonging to the community, especially not having grown up in this country. It is also the joy of giving and helping others.

Volunteering provides a way to get to know other people, building friendships and ties to the community you live in. It also helps to develop new skills or just curiously check out new avenues. More people should get curious and try it. Helping others certainly brings a boost to your self-esteem and that really is a reward in itself.

Volunteers Coalface

Shane Jensen

I volunteer as the president of Maraboon Power Boat and Ski Club, just near Emerald. Our club is a hub for water enthusiasts who appreciate the beautiful surroundings accessible through our club grounds. We offer a park area and clubhouse for members to camp and gather. In addition to overseeing the club’s governance, I also act as a caretaker during quiet times and frequently provide water skiing coaching.

My interest in the club and its offerings led me to volunteer. I believe that if you benefit from a facility run by a non-profit organisation, contributing to its growth and sustainability is essential.

I find joy in seeing people enjoy what our club offers. It’s fulfilling to witness both adults and children making the most of the outdoors and creating cherished memories.

Volunteering is incredibly rewarding, and the collective effort of many volunteers lightens the workload for everyone. You don’t have to be on a committee to make a difference; every contribution, big or small, adds value and helps communities thrive.

Volunteers Coalface

Dennis Bryant

Volunteering has been a significant part of my life, starting with my role as Secretary-Treasurer of The Local Two-Day Show Society. Currently, I’m proud to volunteer as a Flotilla Commander for the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, dedicating up to two days a week to this great organisation.

I got into volunteering naturally, as no one asked me; it was simply a part of who I am. From the first moment I started work, I got involved in a local organisation in the town I was living in.

I enjoy the people I meet and the satisfaction of knowing that my efforts contribute to something meaningful in my community. Volunteering not only benefits others but also enriches my own life.

I believe in the importance of volunteering because without volunteers, many essential community services wouldn’t exist. Volunteering is a way to give back, stay connected with the community, and ensure that essential services continue to thrive without overburdening taxpayers. It’s a rewarding experience that everyone should consider, even if it’s just an hour a week.

Volunteers Coalface

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