Volunteers across Australia will get special recognition this week through National Volunteer Week.
Father Chris Riley, CEO and Founder of Youth Off The Streets says the community should reflect on the importance of volunteers and the essential contribution they make to the health of our society as a whole.
Most charity and community organisations rely heavily on volunteers to maximise their service delivery.
Father Riley’s charity, Youth Off The Streets, which he set up 20 years ago to assist homeless and disadvantaged youth, is no exception.
“We are currently celebrating 20 years of service to young people through Youth Off The Streets,” said Father Riley, “and looking back, volunteers have been an integral component in every one of our programs. We have come to rely on the generosity of Australians and to take great hope from their belief in our young people.”
At Youth Off The Streets, volunteers perform many roles that enable the organisation to focus its resources on service provision.
Volunteers mentor young people to help them achieve their life goals.
They also run the food van service delivering up to 70 meals a night to homeless young people in Sydney as well as an involvement in schools teaching students history and home economics, they assist with fundraising.
Then there is a cake stall in the Southern Highlands operated by volunteers every weekend and Youth Off The Streets Opportunity Shops throughout NSW.
Volunteers cook barbeques and organise activities for young people in all Youth Off The Streets early intervention and outreach programs.
“The most important role our volunteers play is to demonstrate to our young people that there are people out there that care about them, says Father Riley.
“Many of the young people we work with have suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of their carers, so a crucial part of their healing process is to learn that they are worth loving and they deserve to have people in their lives that care about them. Every one of our 450 volunteers prove this to our kids every time they come and help.”
To find out more about volunteering at Youth Off The Streets, visit: www.youthoffthestreets.com.au/volunteer
To donate to Youth Off The Streets call: 1800 06 22 88 or visit: www.youthoffthestreets.com.au