Doing your part on the big issues can help you find hope

After meeting the awesome Dunedin Wildlife Hospital trustees at the Trustpower volunteering awards at the weekend, we caught up with Penny Jacks, President of the Wildlife Hospital Students’ Association in Dunedin about her volunteering experience.

What does Kaitiakitanga mean to you Penny?

It is the responsibility we all have to preserve our natural resources so that they continue to be present in the future.

What role does Kaitiakitanga play in your life?

Kaitiakitanga has a strong significance in my life, from what I eat to how I choose to spend my time. I don’t want the state of the climate and global biodiversity to continue to diminish so I try to reduce my negative impact any way I can. 

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because I want to take action against the issues our world is facing. We can spend too long dwelling on the negative changes in our world, doing your part to battle against these issues can help you find hope.

What volunteering do you do?

I am the president of the Wildlife Hospital Students’ Association in Dunedin. We plan and run events to raise awareness and funds for the Wildlife Hospital in Dunedin, from street appeals to pub quizzes. The Wildlife Hospital is a specialist hospital in Dunedin dedicated to the treatment of New Zealand wildlife. They have done amazing work for many endangered and critically endangered animals, including the yellow-eyed penguins and the kakapo. All the money that we raise goes directly to the hospital to help these little guys out.

What do you get out of volunteering?

I get a great kick out of volunteering both from contributing to a cause that at times has seemed hopeless, as well as being surrounded by positive people.

What would you like to see change in volunteering?

More young people would benefit from getting involved in volunteering. I believe all young people should regularly volunteer their time in some way as it is a chance to discover new perspectives, meet people from all walks of life and you will come away from it feeling positive.

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope to spend my life contributing to the conservation of our natural world. I hope to encourage others to take actions to reduce their impact on the natural environment and to spread kindness.  

Some of the executive members of the Wildlife Hospital Students Association at the UniCrew Student Volunteer Fair today. From the left: Tom Nordmeier, Amirah Osama and Penny Jacks 

Fringe Spirit – Sophie Simons

New Zealand’s Fringe Festival is an annual performing arts festival throughout March which caters to all  audiences. This season was the first time that Fringe offered a volunteer programme to people of all ages and backgrounds. As a box office volunteer, I spent my evenings with the purpose of welcoming people, selling tickets and promoting Fringe. This experience was enlightening in providing a new insight into the Performing Arts community within New Zealand specifically the supportive community within Wellington. I built connections from all art forms and learned from others’ experiences to inform my view of the festival.

Overall, the Fringe volunteering experience is vital for anyone with a passion for the Performing Arts and anyone wanting to learn more about the Performing Arts field. The month I spent volunteering there has definitely informed my career perspective and has changed my life. Volunteering for the Fringe Festival overall opened up my eyes to the idea of theatre and how the arts can be a sustainable career path.