Speaking Up For Youth Volunteers

August 14, 2014

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On Wednesday the 6th of August Gillian Andrews (youth volunteer) and myself had the opportunity to be involved in the Eastern Volunteer Managers forum at Boroondara Town Hall. The focus was on Youth volunteers – ‘Youth Volunteering. Here, Now, Why… And why it will always matter’.

Viv Benjamin from Oaktree Foundation was a key note speaker. Her presentation was very inspiring for all young people and for managers of volunteer organisations. She spoke about the difficulty she had as a young person, trying to get involved in her community as a volunteer, and about the opportunities she was given as a youth volunteer, and how these opportunities have empowered and enabled her to become the person she is today.

Gill did an amazing job at representing the voice of youth volunteers. She spoke about the barriers young people overcome to become volunteers, and what in turn that does for young people. Gill highlighted that more organisations need to believe in youth and what they have to offer. She believes that youth are definitely willing to be involved in their community if they see a need and feel passionate about the cause. Gill expressed her gratitude to Interchange Outer East, for giving her opportunities as a young person to contribute to her community.

When asked to leave a lasting message with the crowd I said “Instead of asking what benefit young people should bring to our organisations in the community, we should be asking how can our organisations be of benefit to our young people in the community.”

by Jess Van Arendonk

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