It’s great to volunteer – just don’t overdo it
  • Friday 15 May 2015
Olwyn Ball

Many people retire with a plan to volunteer – and end up busier than their previous full-time occupation.

Olwyn Ball knows volunteering is a very worthy thing to do – but one has to pace oneself and not get sucked in. And she knows that just because you’re free to pick and choose, not all are perfect.

“I retired after working for 40 years,” the Point Arkwright retiree said.

“After I’d had the long holiday and got lots of work done around my house, all of a sudden life was boring.”

So she helped at Coolum Meals on Wheels, completed a course for volunteer tutoring at TAFE and tutored at Solutions 4 Learning among others.

“Volunteering is like any job: it is not always fun, but issues can be worked around," she said.

“I have left one or two volunteering jobs when they became stressful.”

But the winners outstrip the losers, Olwyn says.

While still doing a day here and there for others, Olwyn may have found her volunteering nirvana as a Friend of Coolum Library.

“It’s not demanding; we sell deleted stock at book sales and organise other activities,” she says.

“Money from the sales is spent in our local library.”

She’d recommend volunteering to anyone – as long as they don’t rush in to quickly and end up more stressed than in the job they used to be paid for.

“Volunteering keeps me in the community. It’s always good to meet new people and often you will meet those with similar interests.”

Sunshine Coast Council Community Programs portfolio councillor Jenny McKay said this year’s National Volunteers Week theme is “Give Happy, Live Happy”, and acknowledged the many volunteers who gave back to the community in so many ways.

“Volunteers make an enormous difference to our community, and the nation,” Cr McKay said.

“Becoming a volunteer offers a tremendous opportunity to return something the community and perhaps learning something completely new and rewarding in your life.

“For so many people, giving is its own reward.

“And there are no age limits, with people young and old volunteering across many areas.”

Visit Council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more information on volunteering.