Today is International Volunteer Day. We wanted to reproduce this neat piece by Glenys Geytenbeek, who is soon retiring after 18 years at Volunteering Otago:
When I started volunteering at the Dunedin Volunteering Centre (now Volunteering Otago) in 1993, I had no idea that in 1995 I would be working in my present position as coordinator of a programme for people in mental health recovery who wish to volunteer. It’s been a challenging and exciting journey for the last 18 years. There has been so much to learn about volunteering and about mental health. I have met many interesting and dedicated people who have made Dunedin their home, and enjoy being part of our community.
One of my favourite tasks has been accompanying volunteers on visits to the organisations in which they’ve chosen to volunteer – so many over the years. It’s been great seeing first-hand, the work volunteers are doing in our community here, and in the wider community of New Zealand and beyond.
The volunteers who have come through this programme and make volunteering part of their journey, continue to inspire me. We’ve discovered that volunteering in such a wide variety of organisations, whether for one day, one month or several years can be satisfying and fun. Here at Volunteering Otago there has always been plenty of laughter as we share some of the daft things we’ve done in the office. There have been some sad times too, we have lost staff members to illness and accident, or just moving on to different commitments.
I especially want to acknowledge the managers I’ve worked with and the Volunteering Otago volunteers who support the running of the office and the services we provide.
Volunteering as Mental Health Recovery Programme
Reproduced with permission from Volunteering Otago’s ‘Volume’ newsletter