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Volunteering news, training, events, awards...

Dear Valued Members, Supporters and Friends,

Welcome to the March issue of The Voice of Volunteering.


From the CEO

I am pleased to introduce myself as the incoming CEO of The Centre for Volunteering. We have some significant initiatives planned for 2014, not the least of which will be the Volunteer of the Year Awards to be launched during National Volunteer Week. We are also looking forward to our annual Ignite Volunteering Conference to be held at the Pullman Sydney on July 10. Please record the date in your diary now.

Friday marks the end of an era when we farewell Lynne Dalton, CEO of The Centre for the past eight years. On behalf of the Board, the Members, our Volunteers and the staff of The Centre, I wish Lynne all the very best for the future and thank her for her outstanding efforts on behalf of volunteering over the years.

I look forward to meeting you all in person in the coming months.

Gemma Rygate

Coca Cola gets to work on volunteer projects

As part of Coca Cola Amatil’s new volunteering policy, The Centre has been assisting with several employee volunteering events over the last year. In February, 6 employee volunteers from Coca Cola came together to assist with the much needed makeover of a residential facility used during an ongoing Adolescent Life Management Program.

"It was a great day all round. It was quite an eye opener to see it/hear it in person as we always read about these issues or see them on television but hearing it firsthand made you appreciate the actual situation and what they do for troubled teens."

"The feeling of good will that you get from giving something back to such a worthy and underfunded part of our community and feeling grateful that I work for an organisation that supports and encourages its employees to give back."

Centrelink approved courses from the School of Volunteer Management

A number of courses have now been approved for Centrelink Student Payments. These include Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY, Austudy and the Pensioner Education Supplement (PES).

Students enquiring about their entitlement for Youth Allowance, Austudy payment and PES should call the Centrelink Call centre on 132 490. ABSTUDY students can call 1800 132 317.

City of Sydney Living in Harmony Festival – Volunteer Speed Matching

The Centre for Volunteering was pleased to participate in the City of Sydney’s Harmony Festival with its Volunteer Speed Matching event.

Congratulations and a huge thank you to everyone who helped make the Volunteer Speed Matching event at Town Hall on Thursday 13th March so successful.  In particular our team: Jacinthe Brosseau, Kirrilee Phillips, Jacqui Hastings and Tony Frew.

Thanks also to the City of Sydney for supporting this month long festival  that coincides with:

  • Harmony Day (21 March)
  • United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • the State's 'multicultural month of March'

23 organisations were represented on the day with approximately 350 potential volunteers coming through the door.  With other volunteers from the contributing organisations, there were close to 500 people involved on the day.  Besides those organisations at the event a total of 43 organisations were involved in supporting and promoting it.  This collaborative effort contributed greatly to the success of the day.

It was truly inclusive with a wide variety of volunteer involving organisations participating including, NSW Emergency Services, Bupa, Navitas, MS Australia, The Smith Family, Cancer Council, Salvation Army, Vinnies as well as groups from the Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish and Korean communities.

A huge thanks is also owed to the organisations and volunteers who provided exciting and fun entertainment throughout the day.  They include the wonderful choir, Sydney Sings, Balinese, Chinese and Korean Dance troupes along with power Tai Chi from the Fusion Culture Group.  To end the day the dynamic Special Olympics dance troupe closed the event.

Finally, thank you to the volunteers who assisted The Centre with running the event.  They were mostly young and from many different cultures.  Especially encouraging for the future of volunteering was Eileen von Knoblesdorff’s contribution.  She was here in Sydney on a 2 week holiday from Luxemburg and gave up her holiday time to help with the Speed Matching.

Feedback Winner

To encourage feedback about the event participants completed surveys that went into a draw to win an iPod Touch.

The winner was drawn at The Centre on 19th March and the lucky and very deserving winner Aryan collected his prize the next day.  Aryan, from India, attended the event to learn as much about volunteering in Australia as he could.  He said there is no platform like Volunteer Speed Matching in India and found it easy to get an understanding of the opportunities available.

He is also here for a short time, 4 months.  Aryan is studying a Masters of Marketing that brought him from Singapore and will take him to Dubai next.  Each stint is 4 months and he wants to engage in volunteering in each location.

At the Speed Matching event Aryan was able to register with Bupa and will volunteer at one of their aged care facilities during his short stay in Australia.

Meet Nicola from Hurstville Library, Museum Gallery and Entertainment Centre

With an increasing demand from youth looking to volunteer (many as part of school programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Program and the Premier's Volunteering Awards) but with few opportunities to do so, Nicola took it upon herself to change perceptions and turn Hurstville Library into a model for youth-friendly volunteering. In doing so she helped develop youth programs that enabled the Council to tap into the skills and interest of those young people keen to volunteer all the while providing important services to young people more broadly within the Council area.

Youth programs run each afternoon and early evening, as well as Saturdays and Sundays. Some youth volunteering roles include Storytime and Craft, Lego, Gaming sessions, Customer Service, Organic food pick up and assisting the Library Youth Officer with projects such as the Warhammer club. Youth volunteers also engage in the more traditional roles of library shelving and shelf tidying.
To aid in the supervision of the young people volunteering with Hurstville Library, Nicola created a volunteer Youth Coordinator role. This role is to guide the youth and be there as a mentor, developing relationships and increasing benefits to both the youth and the library.

Nicola participated in a panel on youth and inter-generational volunteering at the 2013 Ignite Volunteering Conference in June last year where she generously shared her knowledge, experience and encouragement:

What are the top three benefits of working with youth volunteers (from an organisational perspective)?

  • Young people love to feel needed and if you explain why they do something they will often try hard to continue to impress
  • Young people are great with technology and can help staff and patrons engage with technology
  • Young people simplify tasks

How can you best support young people to get the most out the volunteering experience?

I encourage our young people to talk to our staff, ask questions and build relationships. I try to find a task if possible that may suit the young person, for example if they love playing computer games and are quite talkative I would line them up for our gaming session with our Youth Officer or if someone is shy I would not put them on the Food Connect desk where they need to chat to the person picking up items.

Describe your best experience(s) in working with youth volunteers

I find it rewarding making connections. With kids I try hard to be real and joke with them about stuff, explaining the reason behind our request. Because I am genuine with them and show interest I find most times they are shocked and if I happen to see them with their friends in the Library or on the street, they make a point of saying ‘Hello’. I enjoy working alongside our young people and if we have a mundane task to be done I start it with them, chatting and set realistic goals – joking ‘I bet I can beat you’ or’ How many do you reckon you can do?’ I love it when you get them to smile and chat when they may be quite shy.

What are your top tips on making intergenerational volunteering work?

Encourage TEAMWORK.
Review your volunteers and place them together to enhance a relationship. I usually know background information that for example Pete (youth) likes cars and Matt (adult) was a mechanic or Suzie (youth) and Katie (youth) are very caring so place them with an older volunteer and personalise it, telling them a little background and how they will help the adult volunteer in a role (how much their help will be valued). I have an adult volunteer who has had a hip replacement and needs another. The young ones will carry paperwork and items to her to help and then she completes the task.


Choice casts its eye over Overseas Volunteer Programs

Choice, the Australian Consumer action group, has cast its eye over overseas volunteer programs.

In its review it looked at three main areas:

  • How to find an appropriate program
  • What you're paying for with your fees
  • Examples of volunteer programs going wrong

Read more at Choice

Like to keep your Christmas charity volunteers past Christmas?

Inquiries about volunteering often increase over the festive period but many roles have an extensive recruitment and training process, which often means the public can't just come in to give a few hours to someone in need.

Charities need to explain the situation to potential volunteers to avoid losing their interest, and continue to work with their volunteers throughout the year to keep their brilliant people engaged.

  • Engage with the volunteer
  • Be flexible
  • Support your volunteer
  • Celebrate success
  • Give something back
  • Permission to leave

Source: The Guardian

Aurizon Community Grants Now open

Grants of up to $20,000 for Not for Profit projects in the areas of Health and Wellbeing, Community Safety, Environment and Education are now on offer from Aurizon.

The grants aimed at regional and rural-based Not for Profit groups are from Aurizon, one of Australia’s biggest rail freight companies, as part of its Community Giving Fund.

Grant Applications close 5pm AEST, Thursday 24 April 2014

More information from Aurizon


April Networking Event - Youth Volunteering: A Window into Generation Y

How do you make volunteering “cool” and attractive to young people? That is one of the questions we hope can be answered during the April networking event at The Centre for Volunteering.

Joining us on the day to help us formulate an answer will be the winning team from the CBA Graduate Program project pitch competition. As part of this competition, the teams were asked to pitch an idea for engaging youth in volunteering opportunities. The teams could look at the 12 to 18 and/or the 18 to 25 year old age brackets. The graduates will present their winning pitch as well as take part in an informal panel entitled ‘A Window into Generation Y’.  The audience will be invited to ask the graduates, themselves mostly youth in their early 20s, questions about what it is to be a youth in today’s society and how organisations should be looking to connect with Generation Y when it comes to volunteering.

Also joining us as a guest speaker will be Assmaah Helal, Community Coordinator at Football United, an organisation that uses the magic of football to bring people together for the common goal of creating harmonious and cohesive societies. Assmaah will share with us both her organisation’s experiences as well as her own experiences of working with youth, including youth volunteers.

We hope to see you on the day for this engaging and topical discussion.

To help in the facilitation of the panel - A Window into Generation Y - please feel free to send us some questions in advance. We will try our best to incorporate these in the session.

Register for the April Networking Event

Want to Become a More Effective Community Services Manager?

Pathways Australia has released dates for 2014 workshops developed for managers within the community sector.

An intensive one-day seminar has been developed to provide community service managers with the skills they need to effectively manage their employees and tasks. Participants will leave with a large toolkit of practical tips, hints, techniques and ideas that they will be able to use in their workplaces the next day!

Upcoming dates for Sydney in 2014: 22 July, 11 November
This seminar will commence at 9:30am and conclude at 4:30pm.

Register Now

Graham Allcott Masterclasses - With the Productivity Ninja

Productivity is not about managing your time - it's how you manage your choices, actions, habits, attention and energy in a world of overload.

Not enough time in your day to do everything? Want some foolproof techniques to take your productivity through the roof?
If that's you, you're in luck! Graham Allcott is one of the world's most inspiring speakers on how to change the way you work to improve productivity and make it fun. His highly engaging, innovative approach to an age old problem will have you bursting to put ideas into practice, so don't miss this opportunity.

Date: Thursday 8th May 2014
Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm
Cost: $220.00 (Price inc GST)
Venue: Park Royal, Darling Harbour, 150 Day Street, Sydney
Register for this Masterclass