Call for more youth volunteers in South Canterbury during national volunteer week

National volunteer week started on Monday and there is a big push for more younger volunteers in South Canterbury-  ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

National volunteer week started on Monday and there is a big push for more younger volunteers in South Canterbury- student volunteer Sophie Lowen teaches inline skating, she is also speaking at national volunteer week event next Tuesday about her experiences . Pictured from left are Sophie Lowen , Sharnae Tilley 9 , Mia Rich 5 and Harry deJoux 6

Year 13 Roncalli College student Sophie Lowen has been volunteering for "10 years pretty much" and is encouraging her peers to do the same. 

Lowen's volunteering has a couple of roots but it all started from her love of inline skating, which stemmed back to a pair of rollerblades her parents got her for Christmas in 2006. 

Now retired from the sport after "being injured to the point I can't skate", Lowen turned to volunteering to share her passion for the sport.

"I love the sport, its exhilarating, and mentally and physically challenging." 

Lowen trains a range of people in the sport, aged from 5 to 24, giving up only a few hours a week of her personal time. 

"I volunteer, just, I guess for helping other people. I don't expect anything from it. It's just about being a good person."

She said she was also inspired when she and a group of 15 other Roncalli students embarked on a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam last year, helping to replace and build shelters for families. 

The "educational trip" was an eye-opener for Lowen, who said families would be living in less than substantial housing and many children would have had no education. 

She said " we don't know how lucky we are in New Zealand". 

Lowen is one of a handful of guest speakers sharing the importance of volunteering within the South Canterbury community at Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury's Tuesday event celebrating volunteering. 

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This week it is national volunteer week and Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury is urging more young people to sign up to volunteer.

Co-ordinator Louise Billinghurst said they wanted to see more young people like Lowen coming forward to volunteer. 

She said " volunteering is so intrinsic to the community to get us working together". 

Billinghurst said "there are more interesting things for young people to do" and not just things like looking after the elderly, which was a common stigma associated with volunteering, which she thought may hold back young people from deciding to volunteer. 

There were many benefits for young people to volunteer, she said. 

She said there were always roles such as being a committee member which were "massively valuable" for young people in terms of obtaining a job they wanted. 

"You can put that on your CV, and you're in like Flynn." 

She said not only that but young people would be able to get "a bit of a taster" of what career path they may want to enter into.

"You really appreciate it and you feel good helping people." 

She said if people got involved in volunteering at a young age "hopefully you can come back to it" later on in life. 

This year celebrates Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury's 10th anniversary, which will see the launch of a brand new accountancy service.

The service is aimed at relieving the stress of doing the accounts for any charitable organisations in South Canterbury.  

Organisations could come to Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury for a number of accountancy needs, such as filing, payslips and invoicing and financial reports. 

National volunteer week runs from June 18 to 24.

Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury will be holding an event on Tuesday celebrating its 10th anniversary.

 

 - Stuff

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