By Cassandra Glover
Give Happy, Live Happy is this year’s theme for National Volunteers Week, focusing on research that shows people who volunteer lead happier and healthier lives.
National Volunteers Week runs from the May 9th until May 16th celebrating all the hard work put in by our nation’s volunteers, and encouraging more people to start volunteering as part of a charity or organisation.
The state government says four out of five WA residents give up their time to volunteer in the community.
“People that feel like they’re giving something back or they’re attributing to their local community do feel good about themselves,” said Tina Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Volunteering WA.
“It’s all about having a sense of purpose and wellbeing in your community.”
There is a variety of different research that shows a positive connection between volunteering and a happier, healthier mindset.
“A volunteer high, you could call it,” said Ms Williams.
Kristine O’Ferrall has volunteered for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) for one year and volunteered for the Red Cross for six years previous to that.
She acknowledges the way volunteering has made her a more happy and thankful person.
“Talking to people and hanging out with people always makes me happy.”
As part of AIME, Ms O’Ferrall has to build relationships with young indigenous students.
She discusses how making changes and seeing people grow is a rewarding experience, as she watches these relationships grow stronger and the students get more and more confident.
Michael Blackburn reflected on his experiences of volunteering through school at the Young Vinnies Program and how it had a positive effect on his wellbeing.
“Getting to help other people made me feel better about myself,” said Mr Blackburn.
Give Happy, Live Happy is a suitable theme for National Volunteers Week, as the positive effects that volunteering has on those who participant should be enough to inspire everyone to get involved.