News

Celebrating volunteers

By Benalla Ensign

Benalla owes much to volunteers and this National Volunteer Week, May 21 to 27, is a great opportunity to celebrate the many ways they support the town.

Out of an estimated population of 13900 residents more than 3600 people have volunteered their time in one way or another.

That equates to 26 per cent of the population compared to the Victorian average of 24 per cent.

The level of volunteering indicates a cohesiveness of the community and how readily individuals are happy to contribute.

The Ensign will be publishing an article on a local volunteer group each week in the lead-up to May 21.

This week the subject is one of Benalla’s most active volunteer organisations, Tomorrow Today.

Tomorrow Today has a whole of community approach to building strength and prosperity for Benalla and ensuring a better future for Benalla’s children and families.

The idea of forming a community foundation was first raised after a Regional Australia Summit in 1999 which explored ways to revitalise Australia’s rural and regional areas.

After a lot of hard work the Tomorrow Today foundation was established by Ian Sinclair in 2002.

Now, 16 years later, the foundation is one of the most active community organisations in Benalla and has more than 90 registered volunteers, some of whom have been involved for many years.

Tomorrow Today has a range of programs and volunteer opportunities:

●Helping young children with learning activities in the PEEP playroom;

●Reading with young students in Benalla primary schools;

●Enabling students aged 11 and 12 to be change-makers in our community by helping them work on projects with local community organisations;

●Mentoring teenagers;

●Helping with special events run to support students;

●Helping to govern the organisation through being part of the board or sub-committees; and

●Conducting fundraising activities and events.

Volunteers can choose activities to suit their time and lifestyle, from a one-off 10-week commitment in the Connect9 mentoring program to a weekly commitment in school terms to PEEP or Reading Buddies.

People can also fulfil their Centrelink obligations by volunteering with Tomorrow Today.

Tomorrow Today is committed to its volunteers and regularly seeks feedback in order to make the positions effective and fulfilling.

Their volunteers often say they are proud to play a part and that it gives them a great deal of satisfaction.

If you are interested in volunteering with Tomorrow Today, please call 03 5762 1211.