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Our philosophy here at OptimalHQ has always been to amplify and support the great works of organisations who enable our vulnerable communities or who provide resources focused on building capability. To that end in 2018 we have raised money, donated time and goods to three great charities via a range of fun challenges, interesting projects and just plain old giving:

All of these organisations are fuelled by volunteers, people who give their time without asking for anything in return. Volunteering is incredibly rewarding, you can donate as much or as little time as you have available and if you are lucky enough to have a community focused employer they will enable you to donate paid time for great causes too.

Starting the day with hugs

In May at the launch of She Can Code in Christchurch a school principal told me about parents who have held a volunteer roster to start the day with hugs in their school since it reopened post the Christchurch Earthquakes.

The impact on children in Christchurch of two momentous earthquakes in recent years have led to depression, eating and sleeping disorders, uncertainty, stress and a range of other complications. Families have been living with housing challenges, dealing with loss of life and the impact on their wider community. So the parents of this school decided hugs to start the day would ensure school is a safe and stable environment for students every day. A tiny daily gesture to create certainty.

I love that story! and it’s just one of many.

If you think you don’t have the skills or experience to volunteer think again. Many organisations just need hands – people to help with routine tasks. Others, like Code Club, Electric Garden and She Can Code do need industry experience but again, probably not as much experience as you think, they offer great programmes to get volunteers up to speed.

In New Zealand there is a platform where you can match your availability with charities looking for volunteer resources – https://www.letscollaborate.co.nz/ – check it out.

To everyone who has volunteered time towards any great cause this year – Thank you! you are the people who make things happen. 

Finally, if you are located in Wellington there is still time to help us fill these City Mission boxes with goods for families in need this holiday season. No matter where you live there will be a food bank you can donate to, this list provides some great advice on what is most useful. Pro tip – we donate the contents of our Earthquake supplies every year, replacing them while still well within expiry dates so meets two goals for us. Perhaps you could try that too? Happy Volunteering, Vic.

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