International Volunteer Day (IVD) is held on 5 December and mandated by the UN General Assembly. This year’s theme is volunteer for an inclusive future. According to the 2016 census, nearly one in five Australians make a difference each year, volunteering their time to do a wide range of tasks for organisations, clubs and associations.
There are many reasons people choose to volunteer and in many different ways. Some use volunteering as a way to gain new skills or add to their CV. Others use it as a way to meet new people, make new friends or try something new. Making a difference to the community and having a sense of purpose are also popular reasons for volunteering.
There are so many great benefits to volunteering as this infographic from UnitedHealth Group shows.
EBS gives back
At Evolution Business Systems, we are a values-driven organisation that believes passionately in giving back to our community. Our core EPIC values of Ethics, Passion, Innovation and Community are not just piecemeal words. Our team live and breathe these values each day and we support our employees to give back to their communities and to the not-for-profit organisations we serve. Since 2014, EBS has offered all staff the opportunity to take two paid days per year to volunteer. Some have chosen to volunteer with one of our not for profit customers, and others have participated in a charity event or a cause that they are passionate about.
Within EBS, there are also staff who volunteer in their communities on an ongoing basis – and on International Volunteer Day we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and commend the wonderful work that they do!
Our CEO, Paul Woods, has volunteered at his son’s football club – the Ashy Redbacks for last 4-5 years in various positions from Assistant Coach to runner to water carrier. EBS is also a proud team sponsor at that club.
Our COO, Jonathan Martin, has a very hands-on role at his children’s school as School Council President, and school finance committee. He runs a School Run Club on a Wednesday morning for 20-40 kids per week to tie into his passion for running. He is also involved in attending school camps and excursions.
Terri McKinnon uses her marketing skills outside of work to volunteer at her children’s school as a social media coordinator for the school’s Spring Fair, along with regularly helping on the canteen. On weekends she has hands-on involvement in her children’s sports; as trainer at Warrandyte Junior Football Club and Club Secretary of Park Orchards BMX Club.
2019 EBS Volunteer Award
Not to be outdone, the EBS Volunteer Award goes to our Project Manager, Udarie Kodituwakku who’s volunteer portfolio most closely aligns to this year’s theme of an inclusive future. Currently Udarie is involved with Monash University – Mentor for Women in Technology Alumni project, a program supports women and non-binary IT students studying at Monash in developing their personal and professional goals and she has been part of the Digital Technology and Information (DTI) Portfolio Group for Facilities Management Australia.
Since 2011 she has volunteered as the IT manager for the Australian Cake Angels Network, a volunteer organisation that helps relieve a family’s stress by donating a beautiful cake to make the day even more special for a seriously ill child and their family. In helping to manage the organisations ‘cake portal’ it allows 12 referral agencies to log a cake request which then gets sent out to over 2000 volunteers in the designated areas.
Udarie has been an Ambassador for Rainbow Centre Sri Lanka since 2010, which provides daily education, food, welfare, medical treatment and loving support to children living in extreme poverty in southwestern Sri Lanka. Since opening in 2005, the Rainbow Centre has enabled more than 500 children to go to school and has continued to support them with their studies. As an ambassador for the Rainbow Centre, she has recently been involved in discussions around vocational training. This programme helps children who are not academically able and provides training in other areas such as making candles, soap or bags. The vocational training has been hugely successful in helping those to find a job and avoid dropping out of school and sinking back into the poverty of their parents, who seek out a living as labourers. The Rainbow Centre is seeking both the funds and expertise to enable the training to take place.
As if all of those experiences were not enough, you will also see Udarie wearing many hats at her children’s school as a School Councillor, Secretary of the Parent Association including the Community and Partnerships Committee, and she is involved in a STEAM forum to promote these core components into the everyday classroom.
Thank YOU for volunteering to make a difference
Whilst some may do more than others – one thing we can all be sure of – everyone’s contributions add up to provide a meaningful difference to the organisations, clubs and associations they serve. There is no doubt that without volunteers, many of these entities would not survive or exist. So, to everyone that volunteers, in whatever capacity, we thank you for helping to make a difference.