I write this column during National Volunteer Week, an annual event that’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like!
It’s been a great opportunity to acknowledge the work done by so many people in our community. I’ve been visiting as many local Helensville groups as possible this week, while not in Wellington representing you in Parliament that is.
One particular highlight was the chance to see our volunteer firefighters. I’d previously visited the station at Helensville and this week did likewise down at Kumeu-Huapai. Their work includes so much more than firefighting – important as that is, of course – as these heroes also respond to all kinds of emergencies in our community. As well as bearing a huge emotional burden, the firefighters also sacrifice much time that they could otherwise be spending with their families or in work and leisure activities. It was a humbling experience to stand before these men and women and thank them sincerely for their service.
Another highlight was my visit to the St John Youth organisation at Helensville. Led with focus and passion by Sheryl Pawley and other adult (and young adult) volunteers, the regular meetings provide all kinds of training opportunities. Along with first aid, of course, youngsters gain recognition for skills they gain in the areas of communication, teamwork and planning, to name a few! I have no hesitation in commending the programme to any local parents who are considering ways to get kids engaged positively in lots of great ways.
I’m aware that many other Helensville groups also volunteer their time, expertise and energy to benefit us all. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s any way that my office and I can support what you do.
Finally, it probably goes without saying that – although this week has placed a particular emphasis on volunteerism – the wonderful work goes on every day of every week of every month of every year!
Please join me in thanking a volunteer today!
Cheers, Chris Penk MP (Helensville)