We recently got the chance to have a chat with another fabulous local volunteer! Here's Nathan's story of his experience as a volunteer with Citizen's Advice Bureau, Marlborough Youth Trust, and Youthline...and why he gives his time in this way:
What group(s) or organisation(s) do you volunteer for?
Citizens Advice Bureau, Marlborough Youth Trust, and Youthline.
What do you do when you volunteer?
When I volunteer at the Blenheim CAB office, I work alongside people to help them solve challenges they're facing in life, to find resources, and to gain knowledge about their rights. It is important that everyone is able to participate in their community and access the services they need.
At Youthline, I am training to be a Helpline Counsellor. While I'm training, I am an ambassador of the organisation here in Marlborough while we establish the first Marlborough branch
At Marlborough Youth Trust, I assist with various small tasks as a casual helper.
What is your favourite part of volunteering?
Assisting those in the community and getting involved at a grassroots level to see and understand the issues New Zealanders face on a daily basis.
What have you learned during your volunteering?
I have learned that my life experiences are valuable and help me relate to and empathise with others. I've discovered that one of the key parts of the type of volunteering I do is being able to listen to what people need. Most of the time, they will discuss many things surrounding what they actually need assistance with, so being able to practice reflective listening has been really useful. This skill helps me show the people I'm helping that their opinions and feelings are valid.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting volunteering?
If you have the time, do it. You will not regret it and the satisfaction you get from assisting someone is rewarding!
When you're not volunteering, you're often studying. What are you currently studying?
I am working towards a BA in Politics & International Relations through Massey University. I'm studying the topics for several reasons. The first is that politics are the rules we live by. I'm interested in the theoretical application of political theory and how that has changed in society to suit its needs not only locally, but nationally and globally.
The second is that I am a huge advocate of mental health. I knew becoming a psychologist would only assist those who I was personally working with, but if I'm working at a policy level, I would be able to achieve a lot more and help a lot more people.
Are you from Marlborough? And what is your favourite thing about Marlborough?
I am originally from Christchurch (and I partially grew up in Melbourne) but I recently decided I needed a change and chose to move closer to family. The move has brought challenges but I'm glad I did it because Marlborough is a great community to work in. Marlborough is small enough to make a difference, it's up and coming, and could be a small metropolitan area full of great things in the future.