MercyCare / News / Business News feature: Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer?

Business News feature: Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer?

MercyCare has long been on the radar of those with a mission to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. MercyCare’s mission to bring compassion and justice to life and break cycles of significant disadvantage goes to the heart of why so many people volunteer.

As a Western Australian not-for-profit, MercyCare’s 190 volunteers play a critical role in the tapestry of the organisation. They enrich the culture, strengthen relationships and help to make its work more effective by contributing their time, skills, energy and enthusiasm.

In the 2018 financial year, MercyCare’s volunteers contributed the equivalent of $916,082 worth of time. That being said, it’s the skills and heart they contribute that is the real value.

Why should you volunteer?

It can be difficult to squeeze in the time to volunteer, but once you start down the volunteering road, the benefits – to the people you help and yourself – can be enormous.

The benefits volunteers themselves experience often come as a surprise. Extensive research from around the world shows volunteering can help protect your mental and physical health.

It has been linked with reducing stress, combating depression, keeping you mentally stimulated, and providing a sense of purpose. Research has shown increases in happy hormones and brain activity when people help others.

To enjoy these benefits, volunteering doesn’t have to be a full-time enterprise. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.

People volunteer for any number of reasons. Some want to put their skills and experience to a good cause and make a difference; some have some spare time and want to do something useful with it; some do it to expand their social circle and connect in their community, some to learn new skills and add to their CV; and some people simply want to help other people.

What does volunteering at MercyCare look like?

Volunteering at MercyCare offers a kaleidoscope of different roles across its Early Learning, Aged Care, Disability, Corporate, or Family and Community services – you will be sure to find one that fits your skills or passions.

Unlike many organisations which fit a volunteer into a specific role, MercyCare adopts the same person-centred approach it uses with its service users to its volunteers. That is listening and providing what our clients want, rather than telling them what they need.

Many of our volunteers share their enthusiasm for music, arts and crafts, reading, working with children, young people or seniors.

For MercyCare’s longest-running volunteers, Bill and Dot Harris, their volunteering double-life has brought them an immense amount of satisfaction. The couple will soon retire after more than a combined century of volunteering with MercyCare.

The couple now volunteer around MercyCare’s Wembley Early Learning Centre, but have also taken on roles at the Residential Aged Care Centre on the campus.

Bill began volunteering with MercyCare in 1964 when the Sisters of Mercy ran the site as an orphanage. His first role was on the laundry boiler before his day job doing the milk-run in Wembley. The couple used their own milk truck to pick-up food donations for the orphanage.

Volunteers like Bill and Dot have played a critical role in the tapestry of MercyCare and their long-standing contribution can’t be overstated. While they have given MercyCare so much, the rewards of volunteering has enriched their own lives.

Taking the plunge

Ready to volunteer? You can register online at