Be one in six million and volunteer: OPINION
IF YOU are feeling like you need to add some zing to your life means you're probably ripe to step up and volunteer.
Wear your heart on your sleeve and help out a cause you believe in by giving something of yourself.
In another life I was a volunteer firefighter for nearly eight years.
One of the reasons I joined was because I figured if my parents house caught fire or they were in a car accident, then I'd want someone to get out of bed and go help, so it's the least I could do myself.
Amid the motor vehicle accidents, bush and structure fires, HAZMAT and disaster incidents, was the camaraderie of turning out on freezing Sunday at 3am for a malfunctioning fire alarm, someone mistaking a barbecue for a garage fire or locking their dog in the car with their keys in the boot after a big night out.
Not only did I learn lots of new skills, and made friends, I felt part of doing something which helped the people in the small town where I lived.
But you don't have to join an emergency services organisation to volunteer - there's plenty of groups who would love to welcome your skills.
From the local school to community gardening, sporting and service clubs, you name an interest, there's an opportunity to get involved.
Now is the perfect time because May 8 to 14 is National Volunteer Week (NVW), an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation's volunteers.
Around 31 % of the population or 5.8 million (yes, you read correctly) volunteers in some capacity, so if you look around your workplace, place of study or even down your street, you'll be seeing people who make a wonderful difference to your community.
Volunteering touches every section of Australian society including, but not limited to education, emergency services, sport and recreation, arts and heritage as well as the social services.
The far-reaching contribution volunteering makes builds strong and resilient Australian communities
During NVW there will be thousands of events held to say thank you to the 6 million Australians who volunteer including breakfasts, morning/afternoon teas, and luncheons as well as open days, award ceremonies, picnics, forums and training sessions.
Volunteering is a tower of strength in our communities with 5.8 million Australians or 31 per cent of the population volunteering, making an estimated annual contribution of $290 billion to our economic and social good.
So get out and volunteer.
You'll be part of something great you'll make even greater.