I love to volunteer because I think it is a great way to use my skills and knowledge and support causes I care about – like sustainability. It’s also a great way to make new friends and connect with other organisations in the community. All these things increase the resilience of individuals, families and communities in a world that can be pretty stressful at times.

Now that my children are in kindergarten and school; places they will spend at lot of time at and which will greatly influence them, my volunteer efforts are spent in these places working on sustainability. I also volunteer here because research shows that children do better academically and behaviourally when parents are involved in their children’s school.

One such project is A home for the chickens at the primary school. The school had dreams for thriving vegetable gardens, an orchard, chickens, and an outdoor kitchen, but no money. I asked if they would work with me to run a crowdfunding campaign to get the project started, focusing on the chickens and an orchard. They were initially sceptical (only 50% of campaigns succeed) but it was a huge success generating an unexpected level of broader community support. The actual chicken home and orchard are still in the making so I look forward to sharing the excitement with you when those are complete.

Crowdfunding involves running a campaign to encourage people to give money for a project. I felt the campaign was an opportunity to teach students the power of one person’s contribution and to demonstrate how communities can work together to achieve something that benefits many people – like this blog.

I believe that I have made a difference in my ‘patch’ simply by contributing my ideas, skills and knowledge, and using my networks. Examples of projects I have contributed to at the preschool over the past four years include:

  • an engraved fence constructed from sustainably sourced Australian timber
  • the Poowong Pickers Festival
  • a solar panel and water tank on the children’s cubby house for the children’s use
  • construction of a dry creek bed which doubles as a raingarden
  • a hand water pump connected to a water tank with a water level gauge for the children’s use
  • water tanks connected to the toilets
  • new taps at the children’s sink so they can turn them off properly and not leave them dripping
  • installation of a toilet suit with integrated cistern and handwash basin
  • a hut constructed from secondhand materials and radial sawn salvaged timber
  • a boardwalk through a bush tucker garden with interpretive signage
  • wildlife nestboxes
  • new signage on the premise constructed from recycled materials
  • and much more including writing grants to get the funding for the above projects.

To see more about how Poowong PreSchool works with community to encourage sustainability watch this video (4min).

You can make a difference too – just join in and have a go!

 

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