Giving a little returns a lot

This is my first blog post in a continuing series (I hope) called Good on the Ground. 

I have had this idea in my head for awhile to blog about people who are doing good, or who are part of something that does good, that often doesn’t really get much in the way of attention. I wanted to highlight the motivating factors that have made these people join volunteer organisations, work in the non-profit sector, help in their community or just do things that make the world a better place.

These people are not “heroes”, “pillars of the community” or cliched people you see in the social pages at charity do’s.

These are people who are the doers - the Good on the ground - that I am most interested in. 

I am really convinced that one of the best ways to combat the dark - is to do something for others. When we do good,  we feel better.

My first interview was conducted via Google Hangouts - online, late at night with my husband Brendon O’Sullivan.

Here is a shot of him on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. He scrubs up quite well I think

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This year, Brendon joined one of the Rotary Clubs in Dubbo. and I have to say the change in outlook in him has been quite amazing. So whilst I interviewed him, this post is also focussed on an organisation, that if I was honest, I would have characterised as a bunch of old fogeys…

I have to say my eyes have been opened to the valuable work, fundraising, volunteering and assistance that they provide to a myriad of community activities, large and small that keep our communities ticking over.

So here goes!

Why did you join? 

I was asked to join and the main reason at the time was comradeship and also I was drawn to the idea of Service before Self

Comradeship is an interesting choice of word? Why that one?

As a business owner, I often feel that I can’t talk freely about my business, the stresses and hard decisions I often have to make. The rotary community is very supportive, full of like minded people who understand those decisions.

I feel part of something, something that contributes to my community and I like being part of that. 

It has been a great experience so far and I have surprised myself at how much I have enjoyed it so far

What do you enjoy about it?

Listening to and learning from others. Hearing about the huge amount of volunteering that all members do. People do a lot of work around the community in a variety of areas. Many of them do not get much media attention. Whilst the large fundraising activities are well known ( and rightly so!), it is the smaller activities, what I think is hard grind that is really what has been eye opening. People are very generous with their time and energy. 

You are drawn in and want to help make things happen, being a worthwhile resource for many activities that really need those extra bodies is very satisfying. 

Plus it is good to laugh and there is plenty of that. 

How do you answer the idea that Rotary might be seen as an old fashioned organisation

I think it is shame that it has that reputation. I don’t see it as an old fashioned organisation. Maybe I am just getting old! The people in my club are good people. It is a shame that so many volunteer organisations seem to be full of older people and their ranks are not being replaced. The community’s need for volunteers is really high. 

What have you most enjoyed doing?

I have never been so active before in my community, I have been surprised at the benefits for me personally - not just the opportunity to contribute to something that will make a difference to someone.

I have particularly like participating in the Driver Awareness Education that Rotary sponsor ( that doesn’t get government funding ) as well as support for the Black Dog Ride.

Whilst I know that these activities contribute in large ways to raising awareness and contributing to funding to make them happen, it has been the feedback from people at these events that has been the most surprising and rewarding. 

I have been surprised at how I have felt, I feel like I have contributed to something worthwhile, something with a purpose. and that has made me feel valued and good. 

How would you summarise the experience of being in a volunteer organisation like Rotary?

If everybody just did a little bit more, imagine how much better our communities would be?

What a great final statement!

Just imagine what would be possible if we all just did a little bit more. 

If you know someone who is doing something #goodontheground, I would love to hear from them. We need to hear that lots of people are contributing in large and small ways to make our world better.

It is a great way to feel of value, to feel good on the inside as well as feeling part of something, something worthwhile - and isn’t that a good thing!