When Vaida Sirutyte-Hughes arrived in New Zealand, she wanted to get out and meet new people, learn new skills and get a job. Her first stop was Multicultural Whangarei, where she was introduced to Volunteering Northland.

Working with Volunteering Northland, Vaida, who is originally from Lithuania, helped administer a project for National Volunteer Week 2018 working with the local business community. She also volunteered at the Quarry Arts Centre in their accounts department, and was able to complete a 20 week business course through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and a professional speaking course through Multicultural Whangarei and Speech NZ.

During her time at Volunteering Northland, Vaida said she was interested in emergency services and the work of the local police. That was when Trish from Volunteering Northland suggested Vaida might like to get involved with Whangarei Community Patrol.

Whangarei Community Patrol is a voluntary organisation, and acts as eyes and ears for the police by patrolling residential, business and industrial areas around the city.

Vaida is now one of their regular volunteers, heading out once a month on patrol on either a Friday or Saturday night from 10pm to 1am. She also utilises her accounting background as the Community Patrol’s treasurer.

Vaida has now secured a full-time job, but continues volunteering with Whangarei Community Patrol.

“I am passionate about this role and I really enjoy helping in the community,” she explains.

“I am learning all the time volunteering, especially picking up Kiwi phrases. I am meeting lovely people and making new connections. I am sure it has contributed to me securing a job as I have also gained Kiwi references and local knowledge.”

Vaida Sirutyte-Hughes
Volunteering Northland

Story by Trish Clarke for Volunteering Northland.

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.