Student Weaam With Her Covid-19 Volunteer Story

Weaam Bassiouni | University of Auckland Global Studies

Celebration of Student Volunteer Week 2021 is ongoing!

Student volunteer Weaam Bassiouni shared her volunteering experience with Auckland City Mission with us. During the Covid-19 situation last year, Weaam has joined the volunteering team to deliver food parcels to people in need.

“We acknowledge how crucial this is as many people rely on it,” said Weaam.

“After learning the situation, I decided to join the team as it was a great opportunity to give back to the community.”

Weaam said that even its just a few hours a year, volunteering can bring humility and rewarding down to your heart, so she encourages giving a try as possible.

“There is nothing like volunteering that makes you feel a certain way”, she said.

Student Volunteer Week 2021 #SVW2021 runs from March 15th to 21st.

Join us and share your stories!

Volunteering Makes Great Connection- Story of Grace

My name is Grace. I will turn 24 this July. I am a master student at Victoria University major in tourism management. I came from Indonesia and arrived in Wellington last March. I am busy working on my thesis but still enjoying my time volunteering. I saw the opportunity to volunteer at St Vincent de Paul op shop as a shop assistant on Seek Volunteer website. I thought this was a great opportunity to connect to people here in Wellington and do something great for society.

My initial motivation to volunteer was because of the lockdown during Covid-19.

After I arrived, there was no time for me to get to know the city; I directly start studying remotely during the lockdown. It was a challenging time that I felt not being connected. I used to laugh a lot and be much more productive back in the days. And I had joined lots of charity service when I was in my country. However, I wasn’t able to help because of the lockdown. The urge of helping, volunteering, and connecting with people has grown deeply in my heart. Finally, after the lockdown, I saw the volunteering opportunity.

I realized there are large amounts of people who need our help, and I thought I could help them by contributing time and effort with my service.

Thanks to this volunteer opportunity, I made friends with the customers. I was introduced to one of the Indonesian music community in Wellington. What’s more, I was further introduced to another local based Indonesian community. I ended up making lots of friends and feel closely connected with this foreign place. Gradually, started from knowing only my host family until now, I have made so many friends. I found the laugh I used to have, and it was all due to taking part in the society as a volunteer.

In my opinion, it is very important for us to be able to find a place that can help us to grow and become a better person. Thanks to the volunteering opportunity, I went through a hard time and found my happiness and belonging here.

“Being a volunteer brought me to a different world. I made friends, got involved in the local community, most importantly, I found a sense of belonging.”

Student volunteer Jasmine shares her volunteering story

Who am I?

My name is Jasmine. I am 18 years old and am originally from Hong Kong, where I finished middle school. I moved into New Zealand two years ago, and I am currently a Wellington Girls College student. I volunteered for Sport WellingtonMary Potter Hospice and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand for the past few months.

I found these volunteer opportunities on Seek Volunteer website. They display all types of positions and related information on their website. I contacted the manager to volunteer for these organisations. Originally it was for the CV and award for the Student Volunteer Army program, but gradually I enjoy doing volunteering jobs.

What did I do for volunteering?

The one I currently volunteer for is Mary Potter Hospice. I worked there for three hours a week on the weekends. I enjoy organising the merchandises and maintaining the store cleanliness. I sometimes in charge of checking out for customers.

I also volunteered for Sport Wellington by joining the Round The Bay 2021. My job was to give necessary help to runners who felt unwell when they passed the finish line. When someone fell down on the floor or looked unconformable, we approached to check if first aid is needed. I also in charge of maintaining the finish line order to ensure people follow the right way. And sometimes give the runners a hand if they need it! I feel like being able to help someone when they need it and also feel the inspiration for achieving something.

What did I gain from volunteering?

I think one of the best parts of volunteering is making new friends and building connections. I used to know friends only in school, but ever since I worked as a volunteer, I know people from different backgrounds. And I even make some wonderful friends of different ages and diverse perspectives. We are still connecting to each other after the volunteer experience. The way volunteering brought us together was just fantastic.

Another part of what I love about volunteering is skills learning. When I worked for Mary Potter Hospice in an op shop, I encounter all kinds of customers; I learned to face different customers in a retail setting. And I get to learn how to do the checkout. I think it would definitely be helpful for my life and my career in the future. It gives me a chance to challenge myself in social interaction.

Lastly, I think volunteering is a great way to contribute to society. As I worked for Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, it really makes me think about what I am doing. I sometimes worked in Mount Victoria and Island Bay. We are actually doing something to protect the environment; we did the weeding and removed the harmful plants for the trees. By doing that, I feel like actually helping this place.

I will definitely keep doing volunteer jobs in the near future. As well as  retail, customer service, environmental protection, I want to try new things in different fields. And keep learning from the experience, improving society and myself!

Celina Huang
Social Media Specialist
Volunteering New Zealand

Sharing laughs, leadership and life skills

My name is Jamie Gibbens. I am 21 and am originally from Hokitika, where I did Guiding as a girl from Pippins, which is for five- and six-year-olds, right through to Rangers, which is for 12- to 17-year-olds. I moved to Christchurch in 2016 to attend university and become a primary teacher. I graduated last year, and this year started my Masters of Education.

I’m leading a group of Brownies, who are aged between seven and nine. I teach them new skills, games, what they can do in their community, and about other cultures around the world. One thing that has stood out is seeing the girls’ enthusiasm towards learning new things. Seeing them enjoy the activities I enjoyed when I was a Brownie myself is also pretty cool.

What I love about empowering girls and young women is encouraging them to use their new skills for initiatives such as community action, and developing their confidence and leadership skills.

One of my favourite memories from my Brownie group here in Christchurch was seeing the confidence development in one of my girls. She got really nervous reading her mihi to the group one night and broke down a bit — but a year later, the same girl not only played the flute in our talent show in front of all the group, plus their family members (a much bigger group!), but she won first place! When I asked her to tell the group about her visit to the Guides, I couldn’t stop her talking.

We often tell jokes and act silly sometimes at Brownies, so there is usually a lot of laughs, which is all part of the fun!

Jamie Gibbens
Girl Guiding New Zealand

Volunteering might not lead to pirate’s treasure — but there are plenty of other rewards

My name is Hannah, a born and bred Southlander and teacher aide. Being a volunteer for GirlGuiding is an incredible way to continue learning and give back to the community. The girls are hilarious — they constantly make me laugh, but also help me to see things in a completely different way, which keeps me learning. I love being a role model for the girls, teaching them valuable life skills, as well as teamwork and leadership skills. The GirlGuiding Programme is amazing and it’s super easy to follow and implement. You are provided with all the training to develop the skills you need.

Last term we introduced the girls to a part of Southland that they had never seen before and explored a wild cave system. The caves were cool, dark and mysterious, and although we didn’t find a pirate’s treasure or even a hibernating bear, the girls (and grown ups alike!) saw and experienced things that stimulated their imaginations and curiosity about the natural world. The girls haven’t stopped talking about the experience since, and I imagine it will be something everyone will remember for a long time.

What I found to be biggest reward about volunteering is it enables you to make a difference in the lives of others, gain confidence and self esteem, feel valued and part of a team, while gaining new skills, knowledge and experiences. The decision to volunteer has been a great one!

Hannah Ralston

Girl Guiding New Zealand