Amid the uncertainty of 2020, something brilliant has emerged—the kindness pandemic, spread by an army of volunteers. In this volunteer week, we say thank you.
Volunteers have signed up in droves to help people in their communities - healthcare workers, the elderly and vulnerable neighbours.
In addition to this, an outpouring of appreciation for essential workers has washed over social media feeds and it’s in these small, simple gestures that we’ve found and created a culture of community kindness.
We need kindness, community, and volunteers more than ever. So, in celebrating National Volunteer Week (May 18-24), organisations across the country are shining a light on the people truly making a difference.
EPIC Assist Volunteer Co-ordinator Mandy Brydon says volunteering to help others is altruism at its finest.
Her organisation has been helping people with disability find and maintain employment for 30 years. Key to this is providing a personalised service for every person and staying with them on their journey until help is no longer needed.
They have a team of volunteers called EPIC Ambassadors to help them do just that.
“To all of our wonderful EPIC Ambassadors, we say the warmest of thankyous. Every day, you make an immeasurable difference in the lives of people with disability, their families, and their loved ones,” Mandy says.
“Your generous contributions are making the world a more inclusive and accepting place for people with disability, and we are thankful every day for your support.”
A silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic has been a renewed sense of community.
“We are all in this together, and whether we realise this or not, we are all displaying the essence of what a volunteer really is. In our own ways we have the desire, we are making the time, and we have the willingness to assist and support others just because we want to, and because we can. It really does highlight the human spirit at its best,” Mandy says.
“When so many people have reasons to be anxious and holed up alone screaming, ‘Every man for themselves’, they are instead coming together in a heartening display of hope. And it is this personal, compassionate approach that is shaping and strengthening the bonds of our community.
“Just as our way of life as we previously knew it has changed, so has volunteering. It has become more personal and individual-focused, even though it may be from a distance.
“The reset button has been pushed—there seems to be more care, compassion, and consideration within our communities. We are thinking more of others, especially those who may not have family or friends close by, the elderly, people with disability, the vulnerable, or individuals who are being deeply affected by what is happening around us.”
The theme of National Volunteer Week is ‘Changing communities. Changing lives’, and Mandy says it couldn’t be timelier.
Although the volunteering space might look a little different at the moment, it is certainly no less powerful than it was a few short months ago.
“In these uncertain times of change, it’s more important than ever to recognise and acknowledge the profound impact that Australia’s volunteers have upon the community,” she says.
For more information about EPIC Assist, head to their website.
Want to meet some local volunteers making a difference? Head to our blog