, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you got what it takes to volunteer? Well the simple answer is Yes! Then the bigger question is why don’t more of us do it? More often than not you hear the same reasons:

– Busy Lifestyle
– I have kids
– I don’t have time
– What’s in it for me?

Worst of all is the people who go around bagging the volunteers or the organisation they ‘expected so much from’. It seems to me that expectations are pretty high, especially from those that don’t actually volunteer themselves. Understandably people have different expectations and ideas of what they want, but does it really give them the right to put down something or someone else because of their own experience when they don’t volunteer themselves?

To those people, I would ask of them, why didn’t you start something yourself? Why trash on someone who is doing their best to help you, with no pay, minimal recognition and only to cop a spray for having a go? But I digress…..

So, I hear some of you scoff, but think about it, how many volunteers will you come across or depend upon throughout your lifetime? Meals on wheels, marriage counsellors, doctors, nurses, life savers, AMBA club members, The Men’s Shed, The Red Cross, Rotary, Loins, CWA and too many more to mention here.

Now take them all away……paints a pretty bleak picture doesn’t it?

So what REALLY stops people from volunteering? Like anything else, it’s usually the unknown. People think it will consume hours of their day, a tonne of paperwork, more stress and leaves little time to do things they want to do.

It’s quite ironic that volunteering is quiet the opposite, and usually fills a void in our lives from a genuine desire to want to give back. The hours per day is actually maybe 10-15 mins once or twice a week in average. For the more infrequent roles it might be a two hour block once every few months.

More than anything, anyone that has volunteered will tell you it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as they first thought. It actually relieves stress by being surrounded by like minded people, as well as ,nourishes the sense of community that everyone yearns for from yesteryear.
Most organisations are more than willing to explain a role, let you try it out and let you basically ‘suck it and see’. Hey, it’s not like you’re career depends on it and the old adage of the more you give the more you get really does ring true.

So I guess a few of you are wondering why I became a volunteer, and it’s a fair question since I’m sitting here sporting off about it.

For me it was simple, becoming a first time Dad to twin boys at the age of 43 wasn’t exactly going to be the easiest thing in the world. Sure, I’ve changed nappies and babysat nieces and nephews, but to have two children depending on us for everything 24/7 was a whole new level of OMG.
I really wanted to be a Dad…well not any Dad but a great Dad! So the best way for me to become a great Dad to my boys, was to learn from the parents who had gone before me. Where else were we going to get better tips, hints, tricks, ideas and knowledge than around other Multiple Parents? So,off we went to our first ever EPIN (Expectant Parents Information Night), and the deal was done. A wealth of information at our finger tips, sound advice, a guiding hand and great people to boot.

The things we learnt over the following months before our boys arrived set us up for an awesome parenting experience. We were a lot calmer than I expected because we knew what to expect, could chat to new friends both in real life and online, at the weirdest hours, for reassurance, ideas or even to just pass the time on those times we just couldn’t sleep or were feeding the boys at 3am. Which of your other friends would randomly do that for you 24/7/365?

This was the ‘spark’ so to speak, for me personally. I wanted to give back in kind, yet knew there was very little I could offer to those who had gone before us. So,…. I thought to myself, why not try to help those parents who are yet to go through the experience of having multiples, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now when someone asks if I have got what it takes to volunteer, I know the answer will always be a resounding yes that is filled with excitement, enthusiasm and a genuine willingness to help.

So what is stopping you now from being a volunteer? Well the answer is nothing, unless you have very unique circumstances. This applies even more so to more and more Dads who want to get involved but tend to think it’s just for the ladies,……guys, think again! Dads are a lot more willing these days to help out, be it setting up a marquee in the park, cooking the BBQ at a fundraiser or just adding a little muscle power to the clean up. Tech head Dads are helping the way clubs and organisations run websites, social media, joining committees to help improve the clubs for their kids sake.

After all, we’re not just doing it for ourselves, and our biggest motivators are our kids. To leave a legacy they will hopefully incorporate into their lives at some point. We are the role models of tomorrow’s leaders, doctors, teachers, police officers, Nurses, Ambulance staff, Community Leaders and sporting stars. What better way to promote being part of a team for the love of something rather than just the money to make ends meet?

So I put it out there to ALL of you, both Mums and Dads alike, what have you got to lose? My response would be, ‘More than you’ll ever know’!

So check it out, you have spots of time in your week that can become rewarding instead of draining. You can met new friends who, as one Multiple Mum put it, you can have a hundred unfinished conversations with in real life and online…..and it’s NORMAL!

I believe you can, and If I can believe it, then you can believe it too…..you do have what it takes to be a volunteer.