Brian—like about half of all Kiwis—regularly volunteers his time to help others. This work has taken different forms over the years, but each experience has affirmed his commitment to volunteering. "Life is for giving, not for getting," he said. "You give of yourself; you express your thoughts and feelings to build the community you actually want to live in."
The statistics show that women are more likely than men to regularly volunteer, but there are areas in which men are better represented—particularly in sports, business and professional associations.
Brian first became involved in volunteering when there was a governance vacuum at his daughters' high school. The PTA lacked a chairperson, so he stepped up.
Since then, he has also volunteered with Toastmasters, the Green Dollar Exchange, and the Hawke's Bay Sustainability Trust. "Doing something that you don't get paid for is more rewarding than actually doing a job," Brian said.
After serving as a trustee on the Hawke's Bay Sustainability Trust, he carried on his involvement with them by becoming a community ambassador for the trust's Environment Centre. Once a month, he mans a stall at the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market that encourages people to separate their waste.
"I'm interested in organics and permaculture and how the world is going wrong. I would love to see a holistic approach to solving our problems. Not just a single focus on money, which we can't eat to survive, but one that is sustainable and community-focused. " he explained. "I feel like I needed to do something to contribute towards that, so I put my hand up."
The 69-year-old is particularly motivated by his connections in the community and getting to know the other volunteers. Their ages range from students to retirees, and Brian said they all get something out of the work.
For younger people, volunteering is a perfect way to get into the workforce.
"It will give them a point of difference when they're looking for proper work and someone to refer to for their work experience," he said.
Brian describes himself as a jack of all trades. His life experience includes working in banks and freezing works, building, and living on a lifestyle block.
"I like a challenge," he said. And he enjoys challenges even more when they're hands-on and involves his neighbours.
"It's quite rewarding getting out and connecting with your community, helping your community," he said. And while volunteer work is, by definition, done without any payment to the volunteer, Brian believes he benefits from it himself.
"I have an understanding of myself as being at one with everything that exists, he said. "So what I'm doing for others, I'm sort of doing for myself."
Thanks to people like Brian, our communities are better places in which to live. In return, he enriches his own life—a win-win for everyone.
If you would like to make a difference in your community, you can view all the opportunities here., or you can give Leanne a call on 06 391 5476.
Be the one who makes a difference.