It has been estimated that volunteering in Australia equates to more than 713 million hours annually*. That’s billions of dollars worth of time dedicated to helping the community each year – just imagine, if everyone suddenly stopped volunteering, what would happen to our communities and the economy? That’s why Good Beginnings values the suuport from more than 100 Volunteer Community Parents across Australia.
Through regular home visits to family homes Volunteer Community Parents offer:
• Reassurance to parents to give them more confidence in their roles as parents;
• Connecting parents with other resources and services in the community;
• Assistance to parents in activities with their children;
• Provision of information and strategies on parenting; and
• Provision of practical support and assisting parents to identify strengths and develop goals for the future.
Under the supervision of a qualified Volunteer Coordinator, this program is highly successful and provides a range of support to some of the most vulnerable children and families in the community. This is due to the fact that Volunteer Community Parents assist in breaking down the barriers faced by families which, over the long term, have proved fundamental to engaging in the community.
Examples of families who utilize this service are:
• Parents with post natal depression and other mental health issues;
• Families with little or no support network;
• Parents of children with developmental delays;
• Families experiencing relationship breakdown;
• Families with limited access to transport or mainstream services; and
• Families that require long term ongoing support.
Good Beginnings Australia has long recognized that parents are doing one of the most vital jobs in the country – bringing up our next generation. The organization also recognizes that there are many challenges that parents face when caring for their children. These challenges can range from a lack of confidence in parenting, to isolation, mental health issues and much more. These challenges can often escalate to create significant concern for a child’s wellbeing.
The Good Beginnings Volunteer Home Visiting training program that all Volunteer Community Parents are trained in offers early intervention for those families in need. Support often extends over a 12 month period of weekly visits.
Volunteering can range from just a few hours of assistance, right through to the weeks and months of ongoing support that Community Parents provide with Good Beginnings.
To ensure volunteering continues to grow and support a vibrant, healthy society, we need to ensure people recognize the power of donating their time. That’s why NAB’s employee volunteering program is so important over the long term – helping to build capacity in the not-for-profit sector and connecting those who have something to give, to those who benefit from a helping hand. Recently, NAB volunteers joined Good Beginnings families around the country in celebrating National Families Week 2011.
Today’s volunteer may well be tomorrow’s community parent. And we don’t see that stopping any time soon.
To learn more about Good Beginnings programs, visit www.goodbeginnings.org.au.
*Australian Bureau of Statistics, Voluntary Work, Australia survey 2006, Cat. No. 4441.0.