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For many years I have volunteered in a number of capacities, committees, school councils, community groups, business and personal development events so when I was thinking about my V Adventure I knew I wanted to volunteer with an organisation I hadn’t connected with before. I wasn’t really sure where to focus my attention but as it turned out the universe delivered (surprise, surprise!) and a few opportunities presented themselves to me so I ran with those. I noticed a call out on a local Facebook page for anyone who had unwanted cotton or flanelette sheets to give away and then there was a call for anyone who could sew. Hang on that was me – I can sew! A lovely young lady was collecting the sheets and then wanting them transformed into pouches for the injured wildlife from the NSW & QLD fires. Having recently driven up around the area I felt a great affinity to this cause and couldn’t wait to get started. I picked up the sheets that had been donated by some of the locals, downloaded the pattern, cut out the shapes and spent the next few days diligently perched over my machine, churning out various pouch sizes that could be used to help nurture these poor creatures, hopefully back to their former health. My faithful friend Buster kept a watchful eye on the proceedings as you can see by the photo and I felt a great sense of contribution and achievement by being just a small part of this initiative.

A few days later we encountered a massive wind storm in Melbourne. The next day as my ‘faithful friend’ and I were walking around the local park I noticed a lot of rubbish had been blown into the area. As I was shaking my head at the mess I looked around and not far away was a large plastic bag clinging to a tree. This was the next sign! Don’t just wait for the council or someone else to clean it up – I’m there and can do something about it now! So I rescued the bag from the tree and spent the rest of my walk filling it with rubbish. Voila – a nice clean park for the next lot of walkers.

Another opportunity I recently came across is Share the Dignity, a great initiative where people can donate a used handbag full of personal hygiene products and everyday luxuries to homeless women, women at risk or women experiencing domestic violence. Now whilst I wasn’t able to volunteer my time to this one I did decide to donate a bag full of items which I dropped off at my local Bunnings store for pickup and distribution in time for Christmas.

Volunteering comes in so many forms and there are always so many people or organisations needing help, it just depends what you are attracted to in terms of time, flexibility or cause. Perhaps its something close to your heart or perhaps you just want to make a difference in someone’s life. Many volunteers work tirelessly in the background with little or no recognition and they don’t expect it. This post is definitely not about the recognition but the highlight around what opportunities are out there. The animals or carers won’t know it’s me that sewed those pouches. No-one will ever know it was me that cleaned up that park or even know that it was littered in the first place and the person who receives a bag full of personal hygiene essentials won’t ever get to know or meet me. It’s not about that – it’s about what I can do to help my fellow humans, my local community and provide a sense of purpose outside my day to day routine. Adventure V could very well be the most impactful thing I’ve done all year – or it may not – but for me Volunteering is something I enjoy and helps feeds my soul.