Youth and conservation volunteer David Hill. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE
Doing volunteer work can be a way to find new places and people within your community, Carterton man David Hill says.
Hill has held several volunteer roles in the region over the past few years, most recently helping with Volunteering Wairarapa’s Buddy Programme.
“It’s done through the means of conservation work at [Masterton’s] Millennium Reserve,” Hill said, saying he did not know about the work there until Jill Greathead from Volunteering Wairarapa got in touch.
For the past year, he’s helped bring young people into his volunteering at the park, carrying out maintenance projects and conservation work.
“Over the past few months, we’ve been painting all the tables and benches in the park.”
Volunteering Wairarapa passes on names of young people who may be interested in that type of work.
Many of the young people he worked with were unemployed or enrolled in full-time study.
Their volunteer work provides them with references and the experience to apply for jobs.
“The goal is to get them into employment,” he said.
“I’ve seen people come in and it’s difficult to get a word out of them. Then they open up and start chatting away.”
Working with young people in the outdoors has been a natural fit for Hill.
He’s a keen tramper and voluntarily helps check traplines for Pukaha National Wildlife Centre.
“I’ve got an interest in that sort of thing.”
With a background in secondary school teaching, the former principal is also well suited to working with the region’s young people and helping them unlock their potential.
“Volunteering is an opportunity to continue that work,” he said.
“I see it as a grandfather-like relationship. There’s a need to bring old and young people together.”
Hill proves that volunteering doesn’t have to take up lot of time.
He dedicates about three hours a week to the programme,but it’s all quite flexible work and dependent on the weather.
He encouraged other people to get involved as it was an opportunity to do more of what they loved.
“If I weren’t a teacher and principal, I would have wanted to be a Conservation Department ranger,” he said.