THE inaugural Volunteer Recognition night for the entire UnitingCare Ballarat agency took place last Wednesday.
“We have often had program areas offer loud Thank You’s and movie nights, but this was the first event that was aimed at volunteers that help the agency in any capacity,” said CEO Carolyn Barrie
Ms Barrie spoke to the approximately 80 Volunteers and their families that dared to attend in the inclement weather and posed the question, “Why do some people volunteer? This remarkable thing they do… Giving their precious time to help us help others? Why? Why support our neighbours from aged 3 until 103, some who are really struggling and need a hand to get back on their feet and life a better life? “According to Harvard University it’s because Volunteers live longer and have lower blood pressure… But that’s not why they do it…! Is it to “give back”? Is it to help a friend? Or meet new people and get out of the house? Maybe… There are lots of reasons.” Jan McIver, Manager of Planning and Development at UnitingCare Ballarat says, “I think it’s because it gives them a “private smile”…. a smile on the inside…. Because helping others matters. Because helping others is an important part of whom they are.” For fun, UnitingCare added up the dollar value in Volunteering for UnitingCare Ballarat and have added up all the volunteer hours for April – 4,606 hours.
“So assuming a value of $20 per hour, the value of time the volunteers contributed was over $92,000! For April, that is in just one month,” Ms McIver said. “Amazing, when that number is multiplied by 12 your dollar value is over $1.1 million dollars per year! And that is just the monetary value… But we don’t measure this remarkable contribution by dollars. The benefits provided to people in our community are actually “priceless”! Volunteers make Ballarat a community. “
Three stories written by volunteers were read out and guest speaker and volunteer, Cr Vicki Coltman, recounted how volunteering benefitted her.