FOR University of Southern Queensland (USQ) student Kelly Hooker being a volunteer is a key part of her life.
"Through volunteering, you learn more about yourself and your own capabilities and it can give you a clearer vision of the kind of role that you would like to have within the community, both now and in the future," she said.
Miss Hooker spoke at a USQ Student Services luncheon last week to mark National Student Volunteer Week which aspires to challenge and celebrate young people who are striving to make a change through volunteering.
The Bachelor of Education (Secondary) student volunteers for the Red Cross Youth Housing and Reintegration Service (YHARS) as well as The Smith Family where she tutors a small group of primary school students.
Kelly also volunteers for the Midnight Basketball program which aims to protect at risk youth.
Miss Hooker said she believed volunteering was extremely valuable for the individuals and organisations she assists and for herself personally.
"When I first apply for a volunteer position, it's because I want to see how it is that I can help people and to learn more about how people's lives can be impacted in ways that I might not have ever considered," she said.
"I start out because I want to make a positive contribution in the lives of people who need it the most.
"It's a great feeling to be a part of something that works purely to benefit others and the young people that are involved in the sort of programs I volunteer for are truly wonderful."
The purpose of the USQ National Student Volunteer Week event was to highlight the significance and benefits of volunteering and the ways in which students may become involved. It also provided an opportunity for volunteer organisations to network with each other as well as USQ students and staff.
Other speakers at the luncheon included Hannah Belesky (Settlement Coordinator) from Centacare - Toowoomba Refugee and Migrant Support (TRAMS) and Matthew Moynihan, Talent Transition Manager at Transfield Services.
Miss Hooker said there were many ways students could make a difference and encouraged others to lend a hand.
"If there is an organisation that you are particularly passionate about, it can be worthwhile to check out their website to see if there are any volunteer opportunities available," she said.
"Being involved in volunteering is one of the best and most important aspects of my life."
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