To celebrate National Volunteer Week 2021 we’re sharing six stories from some of the incredible people who volunteer in the City of Yarra.
Leia has been significant member of the small volunteer team at Women’s Art Register, an artist-run network and resource, since moving to Australia from the USA in 2019.
Within 6 months Leia signed up as a committee member.
“Even now that I am working full time, I make time to go in. And when I do, I feel a sense of personal satisfaction for being involved.”
What made you want to volunteer?
“My mom is a feminist and an artist, so I have grown up listening to and advocating for some incredible women artists. I enjoy being involved in the community and helping however I can in my small corner.”
Leia found connecting with Women’s Art Register to be an easy process:
“I just emailed and was invited to come in for a casual chat… I instantly connected with Caroline, one of the key members. Her kindness and passion for the work they do inspired me to keep coming back for a few hours every week to connect and contribute.”
What do you love about volunteering at Women’s Art Register?
“I appreciate learning from these women and working on projects together, as well as gaining new skills. It’s a really supportive and empowering environment to be around and to be accepted as I am with the capacity that I have.”
“I value the mentorship and sense of belonging that I get from the other artists. They really inspire me with my own art practice and I feel that I am contributing to something larger than myself.”
“There is incredible strength within the volunteer team at Women’s art Register and it’s a cause that I feel strongly about. All the way over here in Australia, it makes me feel closer to my mom.”
What skills have you gained?
Leia enjoys the variety of tasks in her volunteer role, including; archiving, helping with events and training, organisational management, outreach with networks, advocacy initiatives and even some grant-writing.
Leia is now employed as the Festival Coordinator of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.
She feels that the skills, experience and partnerships that she gained through volunteering has crossed over perfectly into her paid work.
Any advice for people looking to volunteer?
“Look for something you’re interested in and excited about! Even if you don’t necessarily have experience, there are often ways you can still help. Do some searching and ask around. Find people that you gel with and can learn from.”
“Be patient, sometimes small grassroots organisations find it hard to respond quickly to many queries from people wanting to volunteer with them, especially by email. Sometimes it’s better to call or go in person.”
“Some of the most passionate people I have met are volunteers, and the Women’s Art Register is particularly special to me in how long-standing and multi-generational it is. They have become my second family.”