National Volunteer Week recognises the unsung heroes who enrich their communities by generously giving their time.
A chance advertisement caught the eye of Janine Solomann at the right time. Now, a year later, she dons an apron every fortnight at the Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge.
“I was reviewing my spare time and looking for something new to do. I thought ‘surely I can give some hours back to the community.’ Now as a volunteer, what I get back is tenfold.”
Janine has a busy schedule. Despite working a full 40-hour week, she says finding the 3 hours to put aside to volunteer is not as hard as it sounds and has advice for other professionals looking to volunteer.
“You can definitely find the time. You may have time in the evening or on weekends. For me, three hours every two weeks is manageable and something I could definitely commit to.
“Just look at your schedule and ask yourself what you can do. Then you schedule it into your calendar just like you would if it was a dinner and that’s it. You get so much from it.”
You can definitely find the time. You may have time in the evening or on weekends. For me, three hours every two weeks is manageable and something I could definitely commit to.Janine Solomann, Accommodation Host
Janine volunteers as an Accommodation Host and helps with the evening dinner service served to our Lodge guests. She helps serve the food, tidy up and prepare the space for the next morning’s breakfast.
The highlight? Janine is quick to answer that it's the people.
“There’s all the other volunteers and the staff that you connect and catch up with. It’s nice to get a different person’s perspective. Then there’s the guests at the Lodge, they’re really appreciative and we always have a bit of a laugh together. It’s amazing, the people you meet.”
Before volunteering, Janine admits she knew very little about Cancer Society services and says she wishes more people knew.
“It’s such an emotional time for families. Imagine if you were from out of town and had to get to Hamilton for treatment. And then you had to worry about a place to stay, transport and meals.
“There’s a whole level of support here and I don’t think New Zealanders realise how much Cancer Society does and how important it is. It’s just an amazing service.”
Interested in volunteering for Cancer Society in the Waikato or Bay of Plenty?
If you’d like to discuss what opportunities may be open to you, please get in touch with us. Contact Sharon, our Volunteer Support Lead, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org