Learning benefits of volunteering

Learning benefits of volunteering

By Alex Shellar

The Serve Trust is an organisation made up of devoted volunteers who all share one important vision, the desire to help those in need. The Serve has dedicated their platform to provide essential food resources on a daily basis in a safe space, to those who are less fortunate in the Hamilton community. Other services are also provided to better the livelihoods of these individuals, with the overall goal being to help alleviate long-term poverty.

Late last year Mike Johnson, a teacher at Cambridge Middle School contacted Volunteering Waikato with hopes to pair up with a voluntary organisation, as part of a 'Poverty in New Zealand' project a few of his students were working on. After being paired up with 'The Serve', they joined the team one evening to assist with one of their meal services. The experience had been so fulfilling that Mr Johnson returned recently with a further 29 students and some of their family members, all dedicating their time over a period of six serves.

Mr Johnson reports ' It is vital that students see the importance of getting behind volunteer organisations like 'The Serve'. It is something that I will do with every class I have each year, as it is better than anything I could teach in the classroom. It is an experience my students will never forget.'

Petrina Toimata known as 'Aunty P' is the heroine behind The Serve. She reports ' It's important for all members of our society to be aware of the trials and tribulations we all face together. Our vision is to strengthen the community, with emphasis on unity. Because change begins with one person, and that resolve is strengthened when we work together.’

Volunteering Waikato’s general manager, Heather Moore, said that she would love to see more schools encouraging their students to volunteer. ‘Not only did these students learn that there are those in our community that cannot afford a simple meal, they learnt that they can do something about it, we all can. This is a great initiative and Cambridge Middle School should be very proud!’

If you are interested in volunteering, as an individual or as part of a group, contact Volunteering Waikato on 07 839 3191 or visit www.volunteeringwaikato.org.nz.



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