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As one who has always worked among groups of people, Eileen Chambers has found volunteering to be a great way to stay involved in wider community. Eileen, who is originally from London, has lived in New Zealand since 1959 and was a registered nurse and a teacher prior to retirement.
She now helps at Volunteering Waikato on a weekly basis and has done so for the last 11 years. This involves matching prospective volunteers to roles that have been identified by member organisations. She likes the variety that comes with this, and being able to meet lots of people. ‘The roles we are looking for range from donation collectors through to office administration and outdoor roles. I never quite know who is going to come through the door, so that always keeps things interesting. You never know what skills somebody has.’
Eileen says that for her, volunteering is just a part of who she is. She doesn’t see it as something she should do, or in any way is a difficulty. It is something she has always done and she plans to continue doing so for as long as she enjoys it. And whilst she is involved in fitting people into formal volunteering roles, she also says that lots of people volunteer in informal ways in their community. There isn’t a one size fits all way to volunteer your time.
Lorraine Hooper, Volunteer Coordinator at Volunteering Waikato says that Eileen’s skills make her an ideal match for their team.
‘Eileen is one of our longest serving volunteers. She is a highly skilled and valued part of the team who also supports new volunteers into the interviewer role and is an excellent mentor. With every client Eileen works to find the best possible outcome, helping them to identify the position that will result in the best voluntary experience for all concerned. We are very grateful, and fortunate, to have Eileen as part of the Volunteering Waikato team.’
Eileen says that the key for other older people is to find something you are interested, and see how you can volunteer your time towards that. ‘I like being around people, but I understand that isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. It might be working from home, in an office or with animals. Often it can be utilising skills you have used in your working life. It’s about finding something you enjoy.’
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteering Waikato at 07 839 3191 or www.volunteeringwaikato.org.nz.