Laura Michelle Ludwig
The multimedia production volunteer position at Volunteering Qld provides Laura Michelle Ludwig, age 22 years, a way to retain and share her skills. Currently pursuing her Masters of Journalism at QUT, Laura has been volunteering for three months with Volunteering Qld TV assisting in filming and editing video content.
"Through volunteering, I have developed new ways of working and improving efficiency," she says. Laura also attributes her learnings and professional development to the mentors available at Volunteering Qld. Her advice to young volunteers is for them to look for their areas of interest, and make time for volunteering opportunities even if it's only for a few hours. "Volunteering will make your life and experience richer."
Having been associated with Volunteering Qld for the last nine years, 64 year old Rodney Cruice has not missed a Wednesday in the Linkki unit nor in assisting people with general enquiries. Rodney's work comprises the processing of skills, volunteer profiles, and emails that are volunteer based. He also has to keep a tab on the number of organisations onboard along with regular follow ups with them.
"Volunteering helps keep my mind active, it let's me be outdoors and meet people, in particular the volunteers who come from different ethnicites," says Rodney as this has benefited him tremoundously in keeping himself occupied during his retirement years. Through his volunteering experiences he has gained knowledge on volunteering in general and fostered personal friendships. According to Rodney the traits that a volunteer should possess should be open minded, easy going, understanding of other people's circumstances and nonjudgemental.
"Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain excellent work experience and meet new people while giving something back to the community. I’d recommend it to anyone,"says Andrew Farquhar, 33 years of age. Andrew has been with Volunteering Qld since September 2011. He volunteers as a project officer and is currently working on creating an innovative, interactive, online community resilience leadership resource to help guide people who want to make a difference in their community.
Andrew has also built a database of people involved in disaster management at local councils across Queensland and worked with them to implement the Disaster Readiness Index into their disaster preparedness advocacy work and promote Queensland's One Million Stars Challenge.
For Andrew the "volunteering experience here has been outstanding. Everyone’s been friendly, helpful and accommodating of volunteers’ schedules." As someone who has volunteered in the past, he says, "it’s been fascinating to work with an organisation dedicated to supporting volunteers, connecting them with groups that need their services and working to enhance the volunteering experience."
Having completed his Masters in Information Technology from CQUniversity, Ravinder Singh, age 25, realised that apart from the book knowledge he has gained during his education years, he had no real experience of the corporate world. He says, "I applied at Volunteering Qld to serve the people and get a feel of the real world."
He is a volunteer of the Database Management and Development team at Volunteering Qld managing databases of volunteers. Ravinder has been volunteering for two months.
Ravinder says that he has definitely learnt heaps through his volunteering role, he has got acquainted with the Australian work environment, culture and lifestyle."With being a volunteer, I have made lots of friends and developed my network". Ravinder also says, "If you volunteer, you will be rewarded at some stage in your life."
For Kim Ngo, volunteering is about sharing her skills for a good cause. In her first month at Volunteering Qld as a graphic designer, Kim's volunteer role comprises creating graphic designs for the Emergency Volunteering website.
Her learnings as a volunteer is about being conscious of the designs she creates, as she has to keep in mind that Volunteering Qld is a not-for-profit organisation, "the designs have to be simple and yet portray the message at the same time, keeping in mind the community at large," Kim says.
Her advice to new volunteers is that, "Volunteering Qld welcomes anyone and everyone, it gives people an opportunity to learn and acquire skills." Kim's designs are being appreciated and used for the Emergency Volunteering webpages.
"Persistence, patience and having an open mind are the traits that a volunteer should possess if they are looking at volunteering in the research department", says Kathryn Fraiser, 24 years of age.
Volunteering as a research assistant at Volunteering Qld for Business Roundtable EXTEND, part of the natural disaster resilience projects. Kathryn's role comprises developing profiles for major business communities across Queensland which have a population of 3,000 people or more and may be suitable to participate in the project.
According to Kathryn volunteering is about "doing something that would be of benefit to someone." She likes meeting new people and has met people from various diversities as a volunteer. Through this role she has gained good work experience in the field of research, learnt the difficulties faced by researchers and also the large body of work that Volunteering Qld does. Kathryn has been associated with Volunteering Qld for the past two months.
New to Australia, Alexander Whiteraft, 26 years of age, considered volunteering with a not-for-profit organisation like Volunteering Qld. Alexander has volunteered in the IT department as a System Administrator for the past eight months. For him this was a good start to meet and interact with people.
In his role, Alexander has to upgrade computers with the latest software from time to time, maintain and manage the computer systems and also fix any problems encountered.
Volunteering according to him is about "exchanging and receiving knowledge at the same time and learning to cooperate with others". Alexander says, a good volunteer should come with an open mind when they decide to volunteer, should have the ability to share and learn from people and maintain good relationships. For Alexander, "the experience until now has been satisfying and enriching as I have learnt so much from my team and also met many new people."
Peter Bernard, 62 years of age, not only takes pride in his moustache but also in being a volunteer with Community Response to Extreme Weather (CREW), a referral service between volunteers and natural disaster response agencies.
Peter's volunteer role includes going through the volunteer register and matching volunteers who will be suitable for a particular role in emergency volunteering. This database comprises the 75,000+ people who registered with Volunteering Qld during the Queensland floods of 2010/11.
For Peter volunteering is "interesting, satisfying, and extremely rewarding." He firmly believes that a good volunteer should possess a sense of humour, should be friendly and approachable, patient, sociable, compassionate caring and even sometimes a bit whacky.
Currently volunteers are being sent to ongoing work throughout the state, including many areas where Queenslanders are still left homeless and are residing in temporary accommodation. Peter says, "if I can get people back into their homes even one day earlier through volunteer help, it is worth my efforts."
"I've learnt that no activity is too small. Even if you think your task is small or makes little impact, you'll be very surprised by how much each small volunteering task adds up to becoming a big helping hand", says 20 year old Erin Gregor, a student of QUT.
Erin started volunteering with Volunteering Qld during the Queensland floods of 2010/11, and thereafter she has been involved in social media, young people as volunteers research, helping out with the Innovate Symposium 1.0, running a volunteer program for international students and facilitating workshops at Volunteering Qld. She derived inspiration from her role helping international students to get involved in volunteering. Despite language and cultural barriers each of them went above and beyond to work really hard and help others, she says.
According to Erin, "volunteering makes life more exciting! You meet new people, share new experiences and help others all at the same time." Her advice to young volunteers is to find what they are passionate about and volunteer in that area. If you are not passionate about what you are doing, then try something else and eventually you will find the specific area/field that you will love, says Erin.
Thoroughly impressed with the work done by Volunteering Qld during the Queensland floods of 2010/11, Manpreet Kaur, 29 years of age, did not hesitate to get in touch with Volunteering Qld when an internship opportunity arose in her university. "I always wanted to work with community organisations, and the three month internship at Volunteering Qld just worked for me," says Manpreet.
Having volunteered for less than a month so far, Manpreet has polished her Salesforce, research, problem solving and data management skills. "The experience until now has been so gratifying that I would like to continue volunteering even post my internship, the lovely people around here makes it even more rewarding" says Manpreet.
A homemaker for twenty five years along with the responsibility of raising her three sons, Merice Burke aged 52 has the volunteering streak in her. According to her volunteering is about "giving time and services to help others and helping myself." She has rendered services as a volunteer during her sons' school days in tuck shops and the uniform shops for over ten years.
Having always wanted to be in a "workforce environment", a people's person - she has been volunteering at Volunteering Qld as a receptionist and also plays an integral role in Linkki, connecting volunteers with nonprofit organisations around the state. "The people here are friendly and easy to be with," says Merice. This has given her the opportunity to meet and interact with new people on a daily basis. The learnings of her volunteering role is not only preparing her for the workplace environment but is also enhancing her computer skills considerably.