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What 31% of Australians do with their ‘free’ time

Private: Paula Issel

The number of options are infinite. I would study, go for a walk, do a coffee with a friend, finish my book, watch a movie, meditate on the beach at sunset, cook a new recipe or call Mum, my brother or my grandmother. To be completely honest, I would probably also fall into the vortex of social media and glance pinterest for a while.

With all this and many more alternatives available, 31%* of Australians over the age of 15 dedicate their time to helping a community cause by volunteering.

This week is their week, it’s  National Volunteer Week. Here at TEDxSydney we wanted to acknowledge all the amazing volunteers out there, including the 3150+ volunteers that have helped our organisation over the last 8 years.

Mai Li, Volunteer Manager for TEDxSydney really summarised it perfectly by saying  “Volunteers make TEDxSydney possible. Without them, we wouldn’t have an event – and a great event at that. Each volunteer contributes to the attendee’s experience because they’re the face of the event.”

According to Volunteering Australia “Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.” When we look at the value that volunteers bring, they take time out of their day yet what they provide back is so much more than time. Volunteers support organisations bringing to life the ideas and strategies required to help those in need, which in some cases can actually be life changing to someone.

It’s pure passion. There is a fine line between believing in something and actually being part of it. Volunteers take this honourable step and direct their passion into an action and make a difference. They believe in a mission and are convinced of its power, then the magic happens with each person bringing their individuality and spirit to the table, strengthening the cause that their organisation stands for.

A labour of love. Yes, it sounds cliché, but that’s how it is. Volunteering is an act of love. It is putting our needs in the background to participate in something bigger than us. It’s giving and it’s contributing. With time, energy, patience, commitment and bucket loads of effort. If that is not love, then I don’t know what is.

Out of the comfort zone. Let’s be honest, volunteering isn’t easy. The toughest moment can be meeting a room full of strangers, after a long day at the office. You need to put yourself out there, promote your skills and build new relationships. No matter what the organisation is even at an event like TEDxSydney, there are thousands of people everyday getting out of their comfort zone to help. Now, that is humanity.

They give it their all.  Volunteering can be compared to the last 5 minutes of a game that has been neck and neck all match. The endorphins throughout the body makes you believe there is so much to do and no time to waste.

Volunteers are said to have that drive, giving their all to everything they do and strive to deliver the absolute best possible result. Their mission goes beyond willpower. It’s conviction and creates quality human connections.

In a week like this, we just want to say thank you. Thanks to every volunteer that has helped Australia become a better country. Thank you for your time, your passion, your love, for challenging yourself and for putting your 100% in everything you do.

Once again, a special thanks to the 3150+ people who have made TEDxSydney possible over the last 8 years. We are eternally grateful.

Happy week to each and every one of you!

PS: if you would like to volunteer for our TEDxSydney 2019 event, you can register your interest here

*Australian Bureau of Statistics – General Social Survey 2014