For Jennifer Mataitis, volunteering is an opportunity to make new friends.
As vice president and membership officer of the Alexandra Parents’ Centre, she spends on average about ten hours a month volunteering. The group holds weekly music and movement activities for children under five, which is a great way for parents and children to connect with one another and make sure parents have the support they need, she says.
The group provides “meals for mums” when they have a baby, plus a “new mums pack” with helpful items including bibs, baby spoons and books. Events the group has run include a rubber duck race, teddy bears picnic, and barbecues.
“Mostly it is just about getting out there and giving back to the community,” Jennifer says. “We are there to help anybody in the community who needs it.”
Once a term there is a kapa haka theme for the music and movement, and te reo Maori is incorporated each week.
Jennifer is also secretary and treasurer of the Central Otago A&P Show, which is entirely run by volunteers, and is a peer supporter with Mums 4 Mums, a volunteer group which supports mums and dads through the parenting journey.
She believes that having a connection to a volunteering group makes it something easy to enjoy.
“If it is something that you want to do and it is something that is good for you and your family, you’ll find you want to do more of it anyway,” she says. “I love being able to get involved and give back to the community in which I am a part of and show my girls the importance of connecting and working with others.”
Alexandra Parents’ Centre
Interactive Volunteer Stories Map
This story was shared as part of our interactive map of volunteer stories from across Aotearoa, which we launched during #NVW2019. This map is filled with stories from volunteers throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand. This map celebrates the contribution of volunteers in their communities throughout Aotearoa. It aims to inspire people to engage in volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action and to realise the benefits of weaving their communities together through their actions.