Ready to make a difference?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Ghandi

Want to help others and make a real difference? Discover the positive impact of volunteering!

If you been caught up in the cycle of working and running from one thing to another, the desire to give ‘something back’ can be overwhelming. Studies indicate that volunteering has the power to increase both happiness and health. It can have a hugely favourable effects on the volunteer’s life satisfaction and decrease the risk of depression.

Whether you 're interested in working with people, animals or children, the sky is the limit when it comes to volunteering. The process is enriching and offers personal rewards for any of us. Here are a three ideas to get you thinking…

Help children: Pyjama Foundation
Focus: Providing learning, life skills and confidence to children in foster care.
Awareness Day: National Pyjama Day 17th July
For an incredibly unique and enriching volunteering experience, you can’t go past the Pyjama Foundation, which aims to empower and educate foster children.

Events co-ordinator, Carina Nguyen, explained how the program works: “Volunteers go into a foster child’s home to read books aloud with them, play educational games, help with homework – supporting and mentoring. Most importantly, volunteers build a positive relationship with these children. Often foster kids can move foster homes and schools – so Pyjama Angels are like a stable person in their life who will be there for them – someone they can trust, learn from and look up to.”

Nguyen adds that the positive impacts of the community-based program are significant – not just for the children, but for the volunteers as well.

“The volunteers get so much out of becoming a Pyjama Angel – just as much as the foster child," she explained. “When the child achieves something great – the volunteer also feels so immensely proud too. For long-term Pyjama Angels, they help to break a cycle of disadvantage. Children in foster care often come from a broken family that experiences verbal, emotional or physical abuse. Pyjama Angels show these children that they won’t give up and that they believe the child can reach his/her fullest potential. We have seen children in our program obtain scholarships from fine or private schools. We have also seen a foster child graduate and enter university to study her dream course,” she adds.

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Help animals: RSPCA Organisations
Focus: Fighting and taking action against animal cruelty
Awareness Day: Cupcake Day for the RSPCA 17th August

Love animals and passionate about animal welfare? The RSPCA offers great volunteering opportunities. With dedicated state branches throughout the country, there is likely an RSPCA facility near you that could greatly benefit from your help.

Volunteers usually take part in a variety of duties including animal care, administration, event co-ordination and assistance and local community fundraising. Though the work is rewarding, certain volunteers need to be prepared for some confronting scenes, as the RSPCA is often an animal's last place of refuge. Ultimately, however, the organisation is the best source for social outreach and education when it comes to animal welfare.

Get in touch with your local RSPCA to find out more about how you can sign up as a volunteer. If you can’t commit to a volunteering position, you could get involved in the Cupcake Day for the RSPCA on 17th August. Help rehabilitate and find homes for animals by registering to bake cupcakes and donating to the cause.

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Help others: Meals on Wheels
Focus: Delivering nutritious meals to those in need
Awareness Day: National Meals on Wheels Day 26th August

This food delivery group is respected for their compassion and aged care. Meals on Wheels believe that a meal, a dose of social interaction and one-on-one check ups for hungry, disabled or lonely community members has the potential to change lives. The organisation is responsible for more than 14.8 million meals delivered by more than 78,700 volunteers, a gigantic feat considering the relative size of the volunteer force.

The organisation will celebrate National Meals on Wheels Day on Wednesday 26th August so it is a great time to get involved and become a volunteer. Active retirees constitute their largest portion of volunteers as it such a rewarding way to contribute to your community and add meaning to not only the lives around you but also your own life. Most volunteers are involved in the delivery of meals (carried out in pairs) using their own vehicles, but many other volunteering opportunities exist, ranging from administrative to promotional tasks.

To apply for a volunteering position, simply visit your state’s website enter your details and commit yourself to a fantastic cause. The volunteering work is flexible, with the chance to contribute anything from an hour a month to multiple days per week.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Ghandi

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Have you ever done any volunteering or considered it? Join our conversation below…